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MTZ basketball on seven-game win streak

Brayden Trimble goes up for a layup in a 72-57 win against Normal West at home in Mt. Zion.

By BLAKE FAITH
Staff Writer

The Mt. Zion boys basketball picked up two wins, to increase the win streak to seven.

Against Normal West, the Braves started off the game on a 5-0 run with Grant McAtee dishing a pass to Bahden Trimble for a layup. Then, Lyncoln Koester nailed a three-pointer.

Normal West responded with a 5-0 run of their own Logan Sluder dished off two assists in that run. One was a pass to Gavin Camp and the other was a three-pounder and the other was to Kylen Smith for a layup to tie the game at 5-5.

The Braves took a 15-10 lead into the second quarter. In the second quarter, Carson Cuddy came alive. On the second Braves’ possession McAtee found a cutting Cuddy who made the layup to give the Braves a 17-13 lead. Normal West cut the lead to the closest deficit of the night when Smith found Camp for a three-pointer to make the score 17-16.

The Braves went on to start a run of their own. Trimble went one-of-two from the line then got a pass from Cuddy that Trimble floated the ball into the basket to make the score 20-16.

Cuddy then got back into scoring. Koester found Cuddy who nailed his first three-pointer of the night to keep the Braves’ scoring going. Later in the quarter, Jc Anderson scored on a layup and Cuddy nailed another three-points to give the Braves a 30-22 lead.

The Braves took a 37-27 lead into halftime and came out ready to cage the Wildcats. Koester nailed a layup and then on the next possession nailed a three-point sr to give the Braves a 42-27 lead. Koester ended up scoring a season-high 23 points as the Braves went on to win 72-57.

“I was very, very pleased, especially with our defense and our rebounding,” Head coach Dale Schuring said. “We followed the game plan very well against a great shooting team and for the most part we did a good job of running them off the three-point line and making them take shots that maybe they don’t normally take or shots they’re not as efficient at. So, defensively and rebounding was very good. Following the game plan was very good. And offensively I saw some improvement in our half court where we had a little bit more patience and got some later clock, not that we have a shot clock, but we were patient with our shots. I thought we turned it over a couple times, but our passing was just unbelievable. The vision and the willingness to give it up was really good.”

The Braves improved to 10-1 overall and 4-0 in Apollo Conference play. The Braves will have this week off before competing in the Taylorville Tournament , of which the Braves are the defending champs. The Braves open the tournament against Taylorville on Dec. 27 at 8:30 p.m.

“First we took care of business in the Apollo with Mattoon and then we got about a week to prepare for the tournament and clean up our own stuff,” Coach Schuring said. “Sure we’d like to repeat. The biggest thing in that tournament when we play Taylorville that’s an Apollo game again and then you just play hard. It’s a grind. Five games in three days and it isn’t easy. So, our depth should certainly help that and we are going to have a target on our backs. We surprised the teams that were there last year. No doubt. People aren’t going to overlook us. People are gonna be ready for us and they’re going to take their best shot and we have to be ready for it.”

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