Knights Impress in 51-26 Victory over Tri-County

January 21, 2015

Suffocating defense key in win

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

A deliberate looking Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond boys’ squad overwhelmed the Tri-County Titans Friday night by a 25-point margin. Tyler Schuring shredded the nylon early knocking four 3-pointers in the first half. Tanner Brewer added 15 points to go with four rebounds in one of the big man’s best games so far this season.
Tri-County entered the contest 15-3 on the season and promptly jumped out to a 6-0 lead on back to back threes. But Jeremy Plank responded for the Knights with a deep trey, and Brewer added a layup to take back the lead 7-6 with three minutes remaining in the first. Tyler Schuring caught fire, and it was contagious as the Knights outscored Tri-County 27-5 to close out the half. ALAH was also spectacular defensively showcasing a suffocating man defense that held Tri-County to one point in the second quarter. Read More

Bates Leads Tuscola to Win

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan’s Nick Frerichs (left) and Kaleb Shumard (right) grab onto Tommy Watson in desperation during the final minute of Friday’s matchup in Tuscola. Watson’s four free throws in the fourth quarter were part of Tuscola’s 7-of-7 from the line.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan’s Nick Frerichs (left) and Kaleb Shumard (right) grab onto Tommy Watson in desperation during the final minute of Friday’s matchup in Tuscola. Watson’s four free throws in the fourth quarter were part of Tuscola’s 7-of-7 from the line.

January 14, 2015

Warriors close out with free-throws

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

It was no secret to Chester Reeder or his Sullivan squad that coming into Friday’s conference opener, Tuscola’s Nick Bates was a scoring threat.

“Our game plan was not to not let him score,” said the Sullivan head coach. “He’s going to score. Our game plan was to contest everything, and we didn’t contest shots to start the fourth quarter, and that’s what killed us. That’s what ended it for us.”

That knowledge didn’t help Sullivan slow down the junior guard, who finished with 27 points and managed to keep his team in the running all night long, before then helping them to a lead they would not relinquish and that would end with a 51-44 Warrior victory. Read More

Timberwolves Fall to Pirates 60-45

Photo by RR Best Okaw Valley’s Joe Jeffers tries to fend off two Cumberland players for the rebound Friday night.

Photo by RR Best
Okaw Valley’s Joe Jeffers tries to fend off two Cumberland players for the rebound Friday night.

January 14, 2015

19-2 run gets Cumberland out in front for good

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

The Okaw Valley men’s basketball stumbled on Friday night versus the Cumberland Pirates in a physical contest. But head coach Tony Sparks knew coming in it would be a tough contest.

“Being out of school the last couple days has kind of messed with our rhythm,” he said. “Coming into it we knew they were one of the most physical teams we have seen all year. They are all running over 200 pounds, even the guards. It was not a team we match up well with across the board. As a roster top to bottom that is not a good matchup for us.” Read More

All-around Effort Pushes Lady Timberwolves Past Decatur Christian

Photo by RR Best Natalie Jeffers (left) and Paige Harlin (right) double team a Decatur Christian player Monday evening. The Timberwolves’ defense locked down the stretch to ensure the 63-32 win.

Photo by RR Best
Natalie Jeffers (left) and Paige Harlin (right) double team a Decatur Christian player Monday evening. The Timberwolves’ defense locked down the stretch to ensure the 63-32 win.

January 7, 2015

OV closes out with defensive prowess

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

In the Lady Timberwolves first game of the New Year Amanda McClain scored 14 points and added seven rebounds to lead her team to a 63-32 victory over the Lady Warriors from Decatur Christian.

Coming off a big holiday tournament championship the Lady Timberwolves jumped out to a 6-0 lead on 3-pointers by Paige Harlin and Amy Orrris. It looked as though the rout was on, but Decatur Christian decided they had come to play. Behind a strong performance from their center Danielle Popis no. 22, the Lady Warriors closed out the first period with a 10-3 run leaving Okaw Valley’s lead at 11-10. After the game head coach Don Gardener talked about the difficulty in handling Decatur Christian’s best player.

“We have not played in two weeks so we were a little rusty,” he admitted. “We did struggle with no. 22. She is a good ballplayer, and we realized pretty quickly we were going to have our hands full with her. We tried to just go man to man, then we tried the 1-2-2, and then a box-and-1 towards the end seemed to slow her down a little bit.” Popis would lead all scorers for the game with 23 of Decatur Christians 32 points. Read More

Sullivan Fends Off Mattoon in First Win of New Year

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan’s Brittin Boyer tries to make the block from behind on Mattoon’s Abrienne Lee Monday. Boyer was a juggernaut on offense scoring 32 points and bringing down 19 rebounds.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan’s Brittin Boyer tries to make the block from behind on Mattoon’s Abrienne Lee Monday. Boyer was a juggernaut on offense scoring 32 points and bringing down 19 rebounds.

January 7, 2015

Boyer’s 32 points and 19 rebounds crucial in victory

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Up until halfway through the third quarter, the largest lead either team possessed was five points. And after four lead changes, the game was still either Sullivan or Mattoon’s.

But halfway through the third, the Lady Green Wave managed three 3-pointers in under three minutes, the last of which coming at the buzzer, to take a 41-37 lead into the final period.

“When Sam (Thompson) hit that half court shot you could see it was kind of like a dagger, but I was thankful that was at the end of the quarter and not the game,” said Sullivan head coach Sheri McCain. “They responded in the fourth quarter, and that’s good because in the [Mattoon Holiday] tournament, some times when our back was against the wall, we didn’t respond. Tonight we did. I was glad to see how we stepped up and took care of the ball in the fourth quarter.”

Sullivan started the fourth on a 7-0 run with Emily Neuhauser’s basket low getting things started. Brittin Boyer would then hit the front-end of her two free-throws, but then after Neuhauser’s block on Samantha Thompson, Boyer scored from beneath the basket, the ball rolling around the rim before falling. Boyer would score again before Neuhauser followed up to cap the run before Sierra Thompson’s bucket and-one pulled Mattoon within two with 2:54 remaining. Read More

Knights Celebrate New Year with Win

January 7, 2015

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

For the second time in a week the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond Knights dominated the Windsor Blue Devils, this time 71-33 improving to 9-3 on the season. The Knights kept momentum from their recent Tri-County holiday tournament championship appearance rolling with 12 players scoring in a game that would get out of hand early.

The Knights had one of their best shooting performances of the season jumping out to a 12-1 lead just four minutes into the game. Tyler Schuring knocked down a pair of 3-pointers pushing the lead to 21-5 with less than two minutes remaining in the first. To cap off the dominant period Cole Garmon nailed a dagger from beyond the arc just as time expired, hitting nothing but net. The clutch trey put the Knights’ lead at 29-5 after the first quarter of play. Read More

ALAH Settles for Second at Tri-County

Photo by Keith Stewart The Knights' Jeremy Plank fires from beyond the arc Tuesday. Plank, who was later chosen as the Tri-County holiday tournament MVP, knocked down five 3-pointers in his team's 47-44 loss to Paris.

Photo by Keith Stewart
The Knights’ Jeremy Plank fires from beyond the arc Tuesday. Plank, who was later chosen as the Tri-County holiday tournament MVP, knocked down five 3-pointers in his team’s 47-44 loss to Paris.

December 31, 2014

Knights fall to Paris in championship

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Paris fans may have thought it absurd, but Knight fans perhaps knew all too well.
With 3.5 seconds remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter and with Paris up 47-44, the Knights had the ball at the opposite end of the court, ready for the in-bounds pass. Much like a few years ago against Central A&M in the Arcola regional championship, the inbounds pass was hurled down court, this time by Avery Schrock to Jeremy Plank who caught the ball mid-air. While the pass was taking flight, Tyler Schuring sprinted down court and to the left of Plank, who then dished the ball to the open senior. Schuring immediately popped up, getting a decent look at the basket and fired.
But unlike the fateful 3-pointer two years ago that Clayton Honn made to win the title, Tuesday night’s attempt banged off the rim in depressingly deciding fashion as Paris held on to defeat Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond 47-44 for the Tri-County tournament crown.
“We executed perfectly and got the shot we were hoping to get, the shot we had to have, the 3-pointer,” said head coach Dale Schuring. “Tyler struggled in the second half, but matchup wise, we thought he had the best chance at hitting that on the move, so that’s what we went with.”
The Knights made it to the championship after three wins, the first of which, a 75-29 route of Windsor Saturday morning followed by a 62-47 victory over eventual fourth place finishing Hutsonville-Palestine that evening. The Knights then stamped their ticket to Tuesday’s championship with a 45-32 win over Westville Monday. Read More

Okaw Valley Boys’ Basketball Places Fourth in Holiday Tourney

December 31, 2014

Near comeback falls short Monday

By Matthew Kracht
NP Sport Reporter

The Okaw Valley Timberwolves lost in the third place game to Mt Pulaski 60-54 Monday evening nearly pulling off a remarkable 13-point fourth quarter comeback. Coming off an impressive overtime win against Cerro Gordo-Bement the Timberwolves struggled offensively until a spirited second half rally. Okaw Valley won a three-way tie breaker based on free-throw percentage to play Mt Pulaski Monday night for third and fourth place respectively.
The Mt Pulaski Hilltoppers wasted no time, however, grabbing the early 8-1 lead before Joe Jeffers responded with a layup out of a timeout. Peyton Hagerman then scored after a steal and went coast to coast, cutting the lead to 8-5 with 3:22 left in the first period. The Hilltoppers would push the lead to 16-9 after the first and outscored the Timberwolves 14-7 in the second period to take a 30-16 lead into the half. Okaw Valley went almost four minutes without scoring in the second period before Hagerman knocked down the first of five deep 3-pointers on the night. Hagerman led all scorers with 29 points and spurred the second half charge. Read More

Redskins Earn Second Place in Decatur Soy Team Holiday Tournament

December 31, 2014

First holiday championship appearance in over 10 years

By Matt Kracht
NP Sport Reporter

The Sullivan Redskins boys’ basketball team came up one win shy of a tournament championship, falling instead to host St Teresa in the final game 40-26. Alec Ballinger and Ty Molzen received all tourney team honors leading the Redskins to wins over Cerro Gordo, Okaw Valley, and Riverton.
Coming into Monday night’s championship contest, Sullivan head coach Chester Reeder knew what the Redskins were up against.
”We’re going to have to defend and rebound. St. T always plays physical, and they execute their stuff well.”
While the Redskins were able to keep up a defensive intensity that had gotten them to the tournament final, the rebounding and offensive production fell short, ultimately spelling Sullivan’s championship demise. Read More

Sullivan Takes Rematch Victory Over Timberwolves in Tournament

Photo by Keith Stewart Okaw Valley's Pierce Bradford watches his 3-point attempt Tuesday evening. Bradford sank three from the arc in an attempt to lift his team to a comeback that ultimately fell short.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Okaw Valley’s Pierce Bradford watches his 3-point attempt Tuesday evening. Bradford sank three from the arc in an attempt to lift his team to a comeback that ultimately fell short.

December 26, 2014

Rebounding and free throws go in favor of Redskins

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

For Sullivan and Okaw Valley, Tuesday evening’s second round game of the Team Soy Holiday Tournament in Decatur was a familiar one. It was a rematch from December 9 when the Redskins edged the Timberwolves 50-44 in Findlay. But this time around, not only did Sullivan nab the victory, but did so in a more convincing fashion and ultimately 54-44.
Sullivan held a strong lead throughout the night, doubling up the Timberwolves several times in both the first and second quarters, and at the end of the third, Sullivan held a 15-point lead at 45-30, despite a 3-pointer by Okaw Valley sophomore guard Pierce Bradford.
But the Okaw Valley youngster would nearly help his team to a comeback in the fourth.
After Devon Still opened the final period with a 2-bucket, Layne McMahon answered with his own score from deep in the paint. But then it was Bradford from beyond the arc to cut Sullivan’s lead to 12. The sophomore then drew a charge on McMahon given the mismatch.
Junior Drew Fructhl then drew a foul from Nick Frerichs, and from the line, he sank both shots to pull OV within 10. But Frerichs would come back downcourt, pull up, and sink a jumper off the glass.
Joe Jeffers, who was in foul trouble most of the night, answered with his own score from down low to keep the margin at 10. Back and forth the teams went until with under a minute to go, Jeffers fouled out, prompting the double bonus for Sullivan’s Alec Ballinger, who hit just one of two free throws to keep an 11-point lead.
Bradford’s trey with 40 seconds would cut Sullivan’s lead to eight, the smallest since the beginning of the second quarter, but his followup foul on Ballinger resulted in both shots this time. Bradford would attempt another 3-pointer once back downcourt, but it would bounce hard off the glass. Then with 18 seconds remaining, an Okaw Valley turnover finished the game. Read More