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MTZ boys basketball loses close one at home against Taylorville

Carson Cuddy shoots a mid-range jumpshot in a 60-61 loss against Taylorville at home.

Staff Writer

The Mt. Zion boys basketball team lost a close Apollo conference game against Taylorville 61-60. Ethan Hamrick led the Braves in scoring with 15 points.

The Braves trailed the Tornadoes 35-26 to begin the third quarter. Hamrick at that point had scored only two points. Hamrick went on to start the quarter scoring in a driving layup and then found Carson Cuddy for a three-pointer to cut the lead to 35-31.

The Tornadoes responded with a Bryce Frederich layup and a Will Bitschenauer three-pointer to make the score 40-33.

Hamrick then scored another two-point basket and found Cuddy for another three-pointer to narrow the Tornadoes lead to 40-35. Hamrick finished the quarter scoring 11 total points and hit two driving layups and a three-pointer to make the score 49-44 at the end of the third quarter.

Jack Driscoll started the scoring for the Braves in the fourth quarter nailing two free-throws to cut the lead to 49-46. The Tornadoes scored on their next possession and Hamrick made a driving layup for the Braves on their next possession to make the score 51-48 in favor of the Tornadoes.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Tornadoes took a 58-52 lead when Luke Markwell made two free-throws. The Braves responded by Brayden Trimble driving to the basket and making two layups and a free-throw to narrow the lead to 60-57. A few possessions later Sam Driscoll nailed a three-pointer off a Trimble assist to tie the game at 60-60.

Markwell was fouled and made one of his two free-throws to make the score 61-60. The Braves failed to score on their possession and put Frederich on the line who missed both free-throws. Trimble rebounded the ball and Hamrick made the driving layup, but was called for a charging foul that resulted in him fouling out. Markwell missed two more free-throws, but the Braves failed to score resulting in a 61-60 loss.

“Well, the second half we did something that we need to do the whole game every game,” Head coach Dale Schuring said.” And the fact that we weren’t playing with that kind of toughness and grit is why we got beat. We had opportunities in the fourth quarter to make some shots that would have theoretically won the game. We missed them. They beat us because essentially, they wanted it more than we did in the first half especially. I thought we did a nice job of a second half of coming back and playing with some grit and some toughness. But again, you can’t do it for a half.”

The Braves fall to 19-6 overall and 4-5 in Conference play. This week the Braves will play Lincoln, Mattoon and Eisenhower.

“We have to play a whole 32 minutes and have to be gritty and tough,” Coach Schuring said. “We know we can compete with them (Lincoln) and we know we can beat them. So we just have to get after it on Tuesday.”

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