PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Salt Fork fights to the end in regional final

Feb. 23—CATLIN — Just like in the second half of the season, the Salt Fork boys basketball team fought hard in the second half of Friday's IHSA Class 1A regional title game.

The Storm got within six points in the fourth quarter against St. Thomas More, but the Sabers would hold on and get a 52-41 win.

"We were able to cut the game to six points in the fourth quarter. We just didn't have enough steam to get one more stop to cut that lead and make it a little bit closer," Salt Fork coach Andrew Johnson said. "With five minutes left in the game, you have plenty of time to finish it out. Again, give credit to them for being patient on offense and taking care of the ball. For our kids, at one point, we were 10-9 and our backs were against the wall as much as you can get. Those kids showed a lot of guts and heart over the second half of the season."

In the first half, the Sabers jumped out to a 17-9 first quarter lead and had a 21-14 halftime lead.

"They did a good job executing the first half and executed well," Johnson said. "They got a lot of offensive rebounds that gave them extra possessions. They did a great job tonight."

Salt Fork was down 34-23 after the third quarter, but scored 18 points in the fourth quarter with Evan Webb scoring six of his eight points in the quarter.

Jameson Remole led the Storm with 15 points, while Ian Church had six and Hayden Chew and Grant Wilson each had four points.

Peace Bumba had 19 points to lead the Sabers, while Owen Yeager added 13 points.

Even with the defeat, Johnson said it was great to see how the Storm ended the season in a very different way from the start of the season.

"Every team is different and this team had hoops to jump through with untimely injuries and things like that," Johnson said. "Overall, I couldn't be more proud of how they finished the season. They found a way to win nine out of their last 11 games and play for a regional championship. The seniors deserve the credit and turning things around and deciding that they didn't want to go the way we were going in the middle of the season."

The Storm will return players like Remole, Wilson, Church and Maddux Stine, but Johnson believes that the offeseason will make the difference for next season.

"We got some guys coming back with some experience, but the biggest thing will be our offseason development," Johnson said. "We have to see the kids put the time to get bigger and stronger and put in an investment to get ourselves to where we want to be."

St. Thomas More will move on to sectional play on Tuesday at Danville Area Community College's Mary Miller Gym, where it will play Lexington at 7:30 p.m.

At Catlin

IHSA Class 1A Regional Championship

St. Thomas More 52, Danville 41

St. Thomas More (52) — Peace Bumba 8 1-2 19, Kirby Wilson 0 2-2 2, Andrew Tay 1 6-7 8, Cole Kemper 4 0-0 9, Owen Yeager 5 1-3 13, Logan Wade 0 1-2 1. Totals: 19 10-14 52.

Salt Fork (41) — Grant Wilson 2 0-1 4, Ty Smooth 0 1-2 1, Ian Church 2 0-0 6, Evan Webb 4 0-1 8, Kamdyn Keller 1 0-0 3, Jameson Remole 5 3-3 15, Evan Hageman 0 0-0 0, Hayden Chew 2 0-0 4, Gavin Holmes 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 4-7 41.

STM;17;4;13;18;—; 54

Salt Fork;9;5;9;18 ;— ;41

3-point field goals — STM 3 (Bumba 2, Kemper); Salt Fork 5 (Remole 2, Chruch 2, Keller). Total fouls — STM 12, Salt Fork 17. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — none.