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PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Top seeds prevail at County Tournament

Jan. 17—DANVILLE — After four nights of basketball in the Vermilion County Tournament, the higher-seeded teams are undefeated and only three of 12 games have been closer than double-digits.

The closest game came Tuesday night at the Mary Miller Gymnasium when Armstrong-Potomac rallied for a double-digit deficit to tie the game with Oakwood twice in the fourth quarter.

Each time the Comets had the answer with Brody Taflinger knocking down a 3-pointer on one occasion and Jackson Dudley getting a breakaway layup on the other as Oakwood prevailed 54-49 over the Trojans.

"I knew we just had to stay calm and stay confident with what we have on this team," said Taflinger, who also made 4-of-6 free throws in the fourth quarter. "I knew we would get the lead back, but they put up a great fight."

But why did Taflinger believe his Comets (16-5 overall) would be able to regain the lead?

According to Oakwood head coach Jeff Mandrell, his team's previous experience in close games this season played a factor. Oakwood has a 61-57 win over Decatur St. Teresa and a 54-53 double overtime win against Paxton-Buckley-Loda from the Toyota of Danville Classic at St. Joseph-Ogden.

"I think that does help, because you have that experience," he said. "It gives you a little confidence that we had been here before and it wasn't totally foreign to us."

Taflinger acknowledged regaining the lead on both of those occasions was important.

"It allowed us to get the momentum back on our side," he said. "If they would have taken the lead, they would have had the momentum and anything could have happened."

Armstrong-Potomac coach Wade Rogers agreed with Taflinger.

"It hurt to not get the ball in our hands with the game tied," he said. "The one time, we were just slow in transition and they got an easy layup. That one was a killer."

In the first quarter, it didn't look like a game that would be decided in the final minutes.

The Comets had all five starters score as they built a 18-6 advantage.

"We made some shot early and then didn't," Mandrell said. "It was one of those games that wound up being a battle. Armstrong played well to close the gap.

"It's good to come out and finish it off and get the win."

Leading the comeback for the Trojans (10-10 overall) was senior forward Kollin Asbury, who scored 11 of his tournament-high 31 points in the second quarter.

"We had to go to a box-and-one on him. He is a load," Mandrell said. "Armstrong is a 1A team that could do some damage in the postseason."

And while Rogers was very pleased with how his team responded after a 25-point loss to Hoopeston Area (71-46) on Saturday in the tournament, he couldn't help but think of some missed opportunities.

"Offensive rebounds for them just killed us and then we had too many bunnies rim in and out," he said. "We hate losing, but we are not going to hang our heads over this. We will look to build off of this and get ready for Georgetown on Thursday."

Oakwood senior center Alec Harrison lead the Comets with 16 points and he was one of three in double figures as Taflinger added 13 and Dudley finished with 10.

Up next for Oakwood is a contest with Hoopeston Area on Thursday for the Pool B title and a spot in Saturday's championship game of the Vermilion County Tournament.

"We just played them," said Mandrell, as Oakwood defeated Hoopeston Area 68-52 on Jan. 10. "We know they will be ready to go and they have looked good in this tournament."

Armstrong-Potomac will play Georgetown-Ridge Farm on Thursday with the winner advancing to the fifth-place game on Saturday.

BHRA 44, Salt Fork 25

The top-seeded Blue Devils came into the Vermilion County Tournament averaging 64.7 points per game and they had only been held under 50 points once.

But on Tuesday night, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin was held to a season-low 44 points by the Salt Fork Storm.

"We had too many turnovers, especially in the first half," BHRA coach Gary Tidwell said. "We had a lot of fast-break opportunities that we missed.

"Salt Fork may struggle offensively, but they do a great job on the defensive end. They were very physical. They bumped us and knocked us off stride. They played hard."

And while the Blue Devils (18-3) could only manage 24 first-half points, they held to the Storm to just 4.

"I thought our defensive pressure was really good, but we just couldn't turn them over like we have done with other teams," said Tidwell, noting that Tuesday was the first tournament game for Bis-Henn/Ross-Al. "We got a comfortable lead and we were able to sustain it through the second half."

Sophomore Keison Peoples led a balanced attack for the Blue Devils with 11 points, while Ayden Ingram had 10 and Micah Stanford chipped in with 9.

Senior Jameson Remole was the leading scorer for the Storm with 9 points. Salt Fork is idle until Saturday's fifth-place game where it will play either Armstrong-Potomac or Georgetown-Ridge Farm.

Up next for Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin is a contest against Westville on Thursday night for the Pool A title and a spot in Saturday's championship game.

Hoopeston Area 63, Geo-RF 36

Playing without senior Owen Root because of an ankle injury, the Cornjerkers started fast and cruised to a win over the Buffaloes.

Kendrick Sigerill, a senior, had a game-high 17 points for Hoopeston Area, while senior Mason Rush hit four 3-pointers on his way to 15 and Trenton Montez, a junior, contributed 12.

Leading the scoring for the Buffaloes was freshman Austin Grider with 9.

Boys Game 4 Hoopeston Area 63, Georgetown-Ridge Farm 36

Georgetown-Ridge Farm (36) — Deven Vice 3 0-1 7, A'Jhon Watson 2 1-1 5, Jase Latoz 2 2-4 6, Austin Grider 4 1-3 9, JJ Hall 3 0-0 6, Landon Heck 0 0-0 0, William Runyan 0 0-0 0, Rylee Heck 0 0-0 0, Jackson Pratt 0 0-0 0, Brady Chamberlain 0 0-0 0, Benjamin Vice 0 0-0 0, Sawyer Willis 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 4-9 36.

Hoopeston Area (63) — Wyatt Eisenmann 2 1-2 5, Trenton Montez 6 0-0 12, Mason Rush 5 1-1 15, Kendrick Sigerill 7 3-7 17, Ethan Steiner 4 1-1 9, Dylan Judy 0 0-0 0, Brayden Walder 1 0-0 3, Nick Cardenas 0 0-0 0, Zach Huchel 0 0-0 0, Cole Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 6-11 63.

Geo-RF 6 8 14 8 — 36

Hoopeston Area 17 11 22 13 — 63

3-pointers — Georgetown-Ridge Farm 2 (Vice 1, Pratt 1). Hoopeston Area 5 (Rush 4, Walder 1). Total fouls — Georgetown-Ridge Farm 13, Hoopeston Area 11. Fouled out — none.

Records — Georgetown-Ridge Farm 4-17 overall. Hoopeston Area 16-6 overall.

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Boys Game 5 Oakwood 54, Armstrong-Potomac 49

Armstrong-Potomac (49) — Nathan Rogers 1 0-0 3, Cole Bailey 2 2-2 6, Kollin Asbury 13 5-7 31, James Huisinga 0 1-2 1, Bowen Hesterberg 2 0-1 5, Ryan Edwards 1 0-0 3, Luke Townsend 0 0-0 0, Braxton Gerth 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 8-12 49.

Oakwood (54) — Brody Taflinger 2 7-10 13, Cort Vermillion 2 1-2 5, Carsen Dudley 1 0-0 3, Jackson Dudley 3 3-4 10, Alec Harrison 6 4-6 16, Bryson McDaniel 2 2-2 7, Brandt Hobick 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 17-24 54.

A-P 6 13 15 15 — 49

Oakwood 18 7 13 16 — 54

3-pointers — Armstrong-Potomac 6 (Asbury 3, Rogers 1, Hesterberg 1, Edwards 1). Oakwood 5 (Taflinger 2, C.Dudley 1, J.Dudley 1, McDaniel 1). Total fouls — Armstrong-Potomac 22, Oakwood 14. Fouled out — Bailey.

Records — Armstrong-Potomac 10-10 overall, Oakwood 16-5 overall.

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Boys Game 6 Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 44, Salt Fork 25

Salt Fork (25) — Grant Wilson 1 1-2 3, Ty Smoot 0 0-2 0, Evan Webb 1 2-2 4, Kamdyn Keller 0 0-0 0, Jameson Remole 3 3-5 9, Braxton Clem 0 0-0 0, Ian Church 0 0-0 0, Kade Smith 0 0-0 0, Evan Hageman 1 0-0 2, Gavin Holmes 1 0-0 3, Hayden Chew 1 0-0 2. Totals: 9 6-11 25.

Bis-Henn/Ross-Al (44) — Keison Peoples 5 1-1 11, Micah Stanford 4 1-1 9, Ayden Ingram 3 3-3 10, Chaz Dubois 1 0-0 3, Caden Keleminic 3 0-0 9, Noah Rice 0 0-0 0, Payton Wallace 0 0-0 0, Landon Leigh 0 0-0 0, Ehtan Dubois 0 0-0 0, Dylan Farr 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 5-5 44.

Salt Fork 2 2 8 13 — 25

Bis-Henn/Ross-Al 11 13 7 13 — 44

3-pointers — Salt Fork 1 (Holmes 1). Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 5 (Keleminic 3, Ingram 1, C.Dubois 1). Total fouls — Salt Fork 9, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 11. Fouled out — Wilson.

Records — Salt Fork 10-9 overall, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 18-3.