Sandwich Thanksgiving Tournament
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1st Round Monday , November 21, 2005
5:00 LaSalle-Peru 78 vs Plano 42
6:30 Streator 51 vs Oswego East 65
8:00 Aurora Central 78 vs Sandwich 53
From The Gridiron
To The Hardcourt In 48 Hours
Plano Football Players Make A Difficult Transition To Basketball
By Bill Lidinsky- Plano Record
If he could get three points by throwing a football through a basketball hoop, Plano junior quarterback, rather, Plano junior shooting guard Brook Bott would probably prefer to do so right now.
If he could haul in a full court pass for a touchdown instead of two points and a bucket, senior wideout, rather, senior point guard Alex Jensen probably would feel more at home doing so at this juncture.
For both of these guys along with five other Reaper football players, the 2005-2006 basketball season came around a week too soon. After two sleepless nights wondering why they still aren’t on the path to an IHSA State Championship in 3A football, Bott, Jensen, and company were thrown into the position of starting the 05-06 basketball season at the Sandwich High School Thanksgiving Tournament on Monday night.
By virtue of the heartbreaking state semifinal defeat they experienced on the gridiron at Tolono last Saturday. Plano now is in the position of trying to piece together a hoop squad that’s still has half of it’s new basketball players still mentally mourning the tough defeat in football. They’re also trying to adjust to the difficult physical requirements needed in basketball as to those in football along with having to face a tough first round opponent in LaSalle-Peru, a class AA school.
“When we first got to Sandwich tonight Al (Jensen) and I were joking that we’re still so much in football mode that we might go out on the court and accidentally tackle someone,” Bott said. “When we did the team huddle before the break I caught myself still thinking I had my helmet in my hands up in the air. It’s been a tough 48 hours and my mind still hasn’t gone away from football. I want to be in that championship game on Friday. It’ll probably take about a week or so to mentally get into basketball, but I know we’ll all get there eventually.”
Who could fault the football Reapers after advancing so far in the playoffs. Couple that with absolutely no practice time with the existing basketball players and you have a very rusty team not suited yet for tournament hoops. The result was a tough 78-42 loss to LaSalle-Peru in game one of five that will be played at Sandwich this week.
“I told our kids after the game that they have absolutely no reason to be disappointed besides the fact that they’re competitors and that they want to win every game they play,” said Plano head basketball coach Nate Spriggs. “With us having no practice, a ten minute walk through before this first game, and going against a double A school that’s been together for two weeks, there’s nothing to be ashamed about.”
Plano actually held tough with the Cavaliers for the first two and a third quarters. After falling behind 24-10 after one period of play the Reapers actually won quarter two outscoring LaSalle-Peru 18-13. Jensen led Plano with 10 first half points while senior Will Brown added eight as the Reapers trailed by nine the half 37-28.
In the second half Plano came out on fire. Bott hit two-three pointers to pull the Reapers to within three at 39-36 with 6:45 to go in the third period. But from there Plano fell apart with the lack of basketball conditioning obvious to all in the know.
The Cavaliers rattled off the next 11 straight points and the Reapers could only manage three more tallies the rest of the period as LP put on a huge burst that gave them a 61-39 lead after three periods of play.
“It was an odd game. We’d go on runs and get close and we got to within three early in the second half and things were looking good,” Spriggs said. “We just didn’t have enough firepower or conditioning to sustain any long runs that could get us over the hump. They (LP) are a very solid team and we weren’t ready to face that type of competition quite yet.”
Plano fell behind by 31 with 4:50 to go in the fourth period and a running clock ensued by IHSA rule in this tournament. The Reapers would end up losing by 36.
Bott and Brown led all Plano scorers with 11 points each while Jensen finished with the 10 he tallied in the first half. The top notch point guard knows that it will take some time before the Reapers return to the regional championship prowess they achieved in 2004-2005.
“I don’t think we’re rusty as far as fundamentals. But mentally it’s the biggest thing right now. We’ve got to get over the fact that we won’t be in the 3A championship in football this coming weekend,” Jensen said. “From playing in a big football game on Saturday, we’re not in basketball shape at all. In football you play for six seconds and rest for 30. In basketball you get no rest. We’re not trying to make excuses, but if we had two weeks of practice before this first game I feel it would have been a different story and a lot closer a game. I’m not in basketball mode yet, I’ll tell you that. It’s tough to get over such a big loss especially when you know you could’ve been playing for a championship in football.”
Things won’t get any easier for Plano in this tournament. On Tuesday the Reapers will do battle with another tough double A school in Oswego East before taking on a very good Aurora Central Catholic ballclub at 8p.m. on Wednesday evening. After Thanksgiving the Reapers will challenge double A Streator on Friday at 5p.m. before concluding the Turkey Day Tourney on Saturday night at 8p.m. against arch rival Sandwich.
“We’re just going to come and compete and hopefully get a win or two. We’re going to try and play ourselves into game shape and familiarize ourselves with our system and playing with each other football to basketball,” Spriggs said. “We’re in a learning curve right now and there’s plenty of wins to come this year and I’m sure we’ll be fine. I don’t think we’ll look at this tournament as being successful in terms of wins and losses. It’s just going to be how we progress as a team and how quickly we can move forward and recapture the championship status we achieved last season.”
If winning is contagious, then Reaper Nation can certainly expect great things in basketball based on the lofty ground work that has been established in 2005 by the athletes that competed so mightily in football.
SANDWICH — In the season opener, a coach likes to take inventory of the strengths and weaknesses of his team.
Aurora Central Catholic coach Nathan Drye has to be pleased with the assets that his deep, experienced team possesses.
Though Sandwich didn't shoot well, the Chargers have clearly improved from their 8-21 season of a year ago. They opened the season by demolishing the Indians, 76-38, in the nightcap of the Sandwich Thanksgiving Tournament.
"We're much more prepared this year," Drye said. "I don't have to yell and scream as much about what to do on offense and defense. And we have some more guys who can put the ball in the basket in case (center) Mike (Benjamin) has an off night."
Aurora Central's sophomore guard Mark Adams showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with this season. Adams gained considerable experience last year as a freshman, and it showed in his 24-point performance.
"Mark is an excellent player, and he had a great summer of play," Drye said. "I think it just carried over. He's an athlete who can shoot, and that's a great combination."
Adams punished the Indians with numerous drives down the lane, which led to a 9-of-10 shooting performance in a first half that ended with ACC up 44-16. Like the other starters, he only played three quarters.
Adams had plenty of help from Danny Bieritz. The junior forward made six of his eight first-half shots and finished with 17 points.
Meanwhile, Sandwich struggled mightily from the field. The Indians managed only 10-of-61 shooting from the field (16 percent). After Lance Futrell (10 points) hit a 3-pointer in the game's opening minute, the Indians tossed up 15 from behind the arc before Travis Van Pelt connected late in the third quarter. Most of the shots did not draw iron.
"We've been shooting much better than that in practice," said Sandwich coach Chris Johnson, who will employ a run-and-gun offense this year. "I'm happy with the effort, but I think some of us were nervous in their first game."
Oswego East 65, Streator 51 — In the second game of the night, the Wolves came back from an early deficit to post their first varsity win.
The obvious conclusion after Oswego East surprised Streator is that experience is overrated. The Wolves, who have no seniors in their first varsity season, were the more poised and talented team, forcing 21 Bulldog turnovers.
Sophomore Lionell Holmes led the way with 17 points on three treys. Zach Pearson chipped in with 13 points, also draining a trio of 3-pointers. Oswego East was 8-of-19 from long range.
The way Streator's Brooks Martin came out shooting, it looked like a long night for the young Wolves. Martin knocked down five 3-pointers in the opening quarter for a 17-10 Bulldog lead, but he was shut out from the field the rest of the night by Alex Sullivan, Jon Mudra and others.
When Holmes and Pearson heated up, the momentum shifted to Oswego East's bench. And Avrey Smith (10 points) nailed two 3-pointers in the third quarter to help Oswego East take command 52-39 entering the final period.
Skyler Ormsbee contributed five field goals and 10 points in the low blocks for the Wolves.
LaSalle-Peru 78, Plano 42 — In the opener, Plano showed the effects of having seven football players transition to basketball, as LaSalle-Peru wore down the Reapers.
For Plano, this tournament will be a chance for the football players to get in basketball shape. The Reapers were within 37-28 at the half, but gradually wore down. Brook Bott and Will Brown led the scoring with 11 points each, while Alex Jensen added 10.
Play continues tonight in this five-night round robin with Aurora Central taking on Streator at 5, Sandwich facing LaSalle-Peru at 6:30, and Oswego East tackling Plano at 8.
SANDWICH -- It's quite possible that Streator High's season-opener in the Sandwich Thanksgiving Tournament could be a perfect season preview for Bulldog fans. When the shots are falling, the Bulldogs can be awfully tough. And when they're not, things can sure go bad in a hurry.
Streator's boys raced out to a 17-10 lead after one quarter Monday night in their 2005-06 opener behind a barrage of three-pointers from two-guard Brooks Martin. But when the hot shooting turned cool, the Bulldogs proved to be just a little too short and a little too slow to keep up with the athletic Wolves of Oswego East, as East came away with a 65-51 victory in the new school's first ever varsity basketball game.
It didn't look that way early, though, as Martin unleashed three-pointer after three-pointer in the opening quarter. Five of his eight three tries found the bottom of the net, and with Ryan Ingold adding a two-point field goal the 'Dogs entered the first break with a seven-point advantage.
But things changed in quarter No. 2. The Wolves (1-0) began hitting a few threes of their own, and with better overall team speed and a distinct height advantage, Oswego East started to wear down the Bulldogs on both ends of the court. It all added up to 22-12 second quarter in the favor of East, giving the Wolves a 32-29 lead going into halftime.
That trend continued after the 10-minute break, as East kept scoring and the Bulldogs kept struggling -- despite getting some really good looks at both open jumpers and layups.
"It's an adjustment time for us and for the kids," said SHS coach Brandon Creason. "But I saw them recognize what we're looking for offensively. Unfortunately we missed six or seven point-blank layups that absolutely broke our backs in the second half.
"They (Oswego East) were quicker to the ball than we were. Anytime a ball bounced a few times, they came up with it. It isn't that we weren't going for them. We were, the effort was there. ... But there's no substitute for speed."
An 8-2 run to close the third gave Oswego East a 52-39 lead heading into the fourth, and the Bulldogs were never able to get that deficit back into single digits despite nine fourth-quarter points from senior swingman Brandon VanDuzer.
VanDuzer finished with 15 points, two behind team leader Martin who mustered only two free throws after his 15-point first quarter to finish the night with 17. Junior center Mitch Uratchko had a pretty nice varsity debut for himself, scoring 8 points and coming away with a game-high 11 rebounds. Ingold also had 8 points.
Sophomore Lionell Holmes dropped 17 points to lead the Wolves, with fellow sophomore Zach Pearson adding 13 and both Skyler Ormsbee and Avrey Smith scoring 10. Oswego East -- in its first season of varsity competition -- does not have a senior in its school or on the roster.
The Bulldogs (0-1) will get right back at it, returning to Sandwich tonight to take on the Aurora Central Catholic Chargers at 5 p.m. The Chargers won their opener impressively Monday, doubling up Sandwich.
Aurora Central Catholic 76, Sandwich 38
A bad first quarter turned into a disastrous first half, and by the time the host Sandwich Indians got things going it was already far too late in a 76-38 season-opening defeat to Aurora Central Catholic in Monday's late game.
The yellow-clad Chargers (1-0) scored seemingly at will against their hosts, topping the 20-point plateau in each of the first three quarters en route to a 44-16 halftime lead and a 65-34 advantage heading into the fourth.
The Chargers' Mark Adams poured in a game-high 24 points. Forward Lance Futrell had 2 twos and 2 threes to finish with a team-high 10 points for Sandwich. Mike Meyer added 6 points, while Andrew Weismiller scored 5.
Sandwich (0-1) plays La Salle-Peru (1-0) tonight at 6:30.
La Salle-Peru 78, Plano 42
The Cavaliers scored 24 in the first quarter and never looked back, as the NCIC's La Salle-Peru took care of a Reaper team just a few days removed from a crushing football playoff defeat, 78-42.
La Salle-Peru was overpowering, as Chad Sipovic went off for 20 points and Mike Heider added 14. Plano still had reason to be encouraged considering that the team hasn't found its basketball legs or had much practice time, with Victor Diaz and Will Brown both scoring 11 points while Alex Jensen put in 10.