Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


December 19, 2013

Behrends lifts Eagles

SE/B, BC to meet in semis

ST. ELMO — Jacob Behrends scored 23 points against Mulberry Grove on Wednesday and came up with two key offensive rebounds late in the game to help lift St. Elmo/Brownstown 54-45 at its own holiday tournament.

Mulberry Grove’s Jack Criner tied the game with a layup at 45-45 with 3:23 left in the fourth quarter, so the Eagles slowed down the pace of the game — having lost a 43-39 lead with 6:15 left.

Behrends’ first key offensive board followed Malachi Maxey’s missed layup, during a fast break. Behrends sank the put-back and was fouled in the process. He lifted the Eagles to a 48-45 lead with 1:33 left.

Mulberry Grove called a timeout with 1:14 left, trailing by three points, to figure out a scoring play; however, the possession went awry from the “soft” inbounds pass.

“We were really trying to get it into the corner, but we had a soft entry pass,” Mulberry Grove head coach Bobby Koontz said. “It was a little bit of inexperience.”

The Aces lost control and Ty James tried diving out of bounds to save the ball. James kept it in play, but his frantic pass went past halfcourt for a backcourt violation.

Levi Maxey went to the free throw line on the next two Eagles possessions, but only made 1-of-3. On the last miss, Behrends swooped in and grabbed the offensive rebound. He went to the free throw line and went 1-for-2 to give the Eagles a 50-45 lead.

Behrends’ effort signaled the start of an unraveling on Mulberry Grove’s side. Malachi and Levi Maxey went to the line on consecutive possessions, missed free throws but got their own rebounds.

Plays like that helped close the door on the Eagles’ 54-45 win, but Koontz couldn’t figure out why his team looked effortless late in the game.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Koontz said. “They worked too hard all game for that.”

Mulberry Grove (1-6) fought back after facing multiple deficits in the game. The Aces trailed 36-28 in the third quarter, but came back to within two points, 39-37 by the end of the quarter.

The Aces may have been leading at halftime if it weren’t for Behrends, who made three 3-pointers in the quarter to score nine of his team’s 18 points.

Koontz said he knew his team had to shut down Behrends and the Eagles’ other top player, Levi Maxey. Damian Latham handled Maxey for most of the game, holding him to 12 points.

Also, Maxey got himself in foul trouble. He left the game with four fouls with 6:15 left in the fourth quarter and the Eagles leading 43-39.

“I thought once Levi got shut down, (Behrends) took over,” Eagles head coach Greg Feezel said. “He took good shots tonight – good, in-rhythm shots. We needed that from him.”

The Aces couldn’t done without it, Koontz said, but their defense continually failed to close out on Behrends from beyond the arc. He made four 3-pointers in the game.

“Our key was to try to stop those two players,” Koontz said. “We didn’t stop Behrends enough.”

St. Elmo/Brownstown (4-2) advances in the St. Elmo Holiday Tournament to play Beecher City on Friday. Mulberry Grove will play Ramsey.

Beecher City vs. Ramsey

Brady Barnes put on a show for Beecher City on Wednesday. He had a double-double, 13 points and 13 rebounds, by halftime of Beecher City’s 56-31 win against Ramsey.

Barnes finished with 21 points in the game – 11 more points than any other teammate and 14 more points than Ramsey’s top scorer, Adam Casey.

“He’s just a tough guy to guard for a lot of teams,” Beecher City head coach Jason Eirhart said. “That’s who our offense has to go through.”

Barnes and Beecher City (3-1) put the game out of reach quickly, leading 27-10 at halftime. It was a lot different than the two teams’ earlier season matchup, during which Beecher City won 49-47.

The differences were apparent to Eirhart, including the idea that Barnes has to lead the offense. Eirhart said the defense was also much better.

“We let (Tyler) Knisley get to the hoop,” Eirhart said. “I like to think we were better coached defensively, than when we played them the first time.”

Ramsey’s Tyler Knisley scored six points on Wednesday. Beecher City held Ramsey to three points in the opening eight minutes. Barnes scored 11 of his 21 points in the second quarter.

Adam Doty also reached double figures for the Eagles. He scored 10 points. Jacob Kenter scored seven.

Beecher City will return to action against St. Elmo/Brownstown at 7:45 p.m. Friday. Ramsey (3-5) plays in the consolation bracket at 6:15 p.m. Friday against Mulberry Grove.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or alex.mcnamee@effinghamdailynews.com.

St. Elmo/Brownstown     13 18 8 15     54

Mulberry Grove     14 11 12 8     45

SEB: M Maxey 3, Frailey 2, L Maxey 12, Behrends 23, Smithson 10, Feezel 4

Mulberry Grove: Latham 9, Redfern 5, Sloan 1, Crisman 2, James 18, Criner 10

Beecher City     10 17 18 11     56

Ramsey     3 7 8 13          31

Beecher City: Gardner 4, Doty 10, Bales 2, Lagerhausen 4, Rexroad 4, Kenter 7, Shelton 2, Barnes 21, Harder 2

Ramsey: Hunt 2, Knisley 6, Kelly 6, Camez 4, Reiss 3, Casey 7, Wesselman 3


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