Skip to content

MTZ boys basketball finishes second in 2022 Taylorville Holiday Tournament

Lyncoln Koester and Brayden Trimble with their all-tournament selection plaques following the 2022 Taylorville Holiday Classic.

By BLAKE FAITH
Staff Writer

The Mt. Zion boys basketball team finished in second place at the 2022 Taylorville Holiday Tournament losing to Sterling 62-56. The Braves picked up wins against Taylorville, Galesburg, Dunlap and Eisenhower and Lyncoln Koester and Brayden Trimble were all-tournament selections for the Braves.

“We just made too many mistakes,” Head coach Dale Schuring said. “We turned the ball over trying to do things that aren’t just simple basic basketball. They hurt us in transition and I didn’t feel like we guarded much of anything. To their credit, they got three really good players and they just worked their offense to get those three players shots and we didn’t do a good job taking that away.”

Against Sterling, the Braves were up 18-10 early in the first quarter. The Braves were heating up behind three Braves in Kam Clark, Trimble and Sam Driscoll nailing right corner three-pointers and Carson Cuddy and Koester scoring buckets.

Sterling’s Lucas Adams started to get hot grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring the putback layup to cut the lead to 18-13. JP Schilling then finished at the rim for a lay up to make the score 18-15. The Braves regrouped after a turnover on offense and JC Anderson made a steal to contain the lead at the end of the first quarter.

“We just gotta block out,” Coach Schuring said. “Most of the games we’ve out rebounded the other team, but we’re simply doing it because we’re more athletic or bigger than most of the teams we play. The teams that give us size or give us athleticism, I’m not gonna say they dominate the boards against us, but don’t rebound as well. Cause we don’t block out. We’re relying on our athletic ability and our height. And sometimes, in some cases, some people, and that’s not gonna do it because again, the bigger schools and I’ll just use the phrase against city schools. Yes, they’re going to be bigger and jump higher than us and it’s not going to work.”

Sterling continued to chip at the Braves lead behind Adams offensive and scoring ability. Adams penetrated the Braves’ defense and scored from the outside to give him 12 first quarter points and a 32-27 lead.

The Braves made adjustments to guard Adams. Owen Owens was inserted into the game and when he was in held Adams’ scoreless. The Braves found momentum from that and Koester, Cuddy and Driscoll making baskets on offense.

Koester started with an offensive putback. Driscoll added the three-pointer off an assist from Trimble to tie the game at 32-32. Then Carson Cuddy off a Grant McAtee assist nailed the three-pointer to give the Braves a 35-34 halftime lead.

McAtee had four points going into the second quarter and made up for that in the third. McAtee scored four of the Braves’ seven points to start the quarter to help give the Braves a 44-39 lead.

Sterling’s Adams cooled off in the second half, but the Warriors found another weapon in Andre Klaber who scored six straight points to give Sterling a 46-45 lead.

That lead and the Braves cold fourth quarter would be enough to give Sterling a 62-56 win and the tournament championship.

The 2023 Taylorville Holiday Classic played with a 35-second shot clock. Coach Schuring said that the shot-clock had no effect on his team and that he sees the clock being installed throughout the regular season in the next few years.

The Braves improve to 14-2 overall and 5-0 in Apollo Conference play. The Braves will face St. Thomas More, Effingham and Bloomington this week to start the second half of the season.

“Well, the focus now is to win the heart of the conference season for the most part coming up,” Coach Schuring said. So that’s what we’re going to focus on winning all of those games and getting an Apollo Conference championship. While we’re doing that, the focus has gotta be eliminating mistakes from the two championship games we’ve lost in preparing for those city schools. Because in the regional, at some points you’re going to face one, two or three of them and if you want to win a regional you have to be able to play the way you can beat those teams and they play differently than the Apollo does. Its two different worlds in terms of style and you have to be ready for both.”

Leave a Comment