Sandwich Thanksgiving Tournament

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5th Round Saturday, November 26, 2005

5:00 Oswego East     vs Aurora Central

6:30 LaSalle-Peru    vs Streator

8:00 Plano         77, Sandwich 83

Rivalries heat up in Sandwich

By FRED HOFFMAN,, (815) 433-2005

SANDWICH -- The LaSalle-Peru Cavaliers claimed the championship trophy at the Sandwich Boys Basketball Tournament Saturday evening, improving to 5-0 with a one-point win over fellow NCIC member Streator.

The Sandwich Indians avoided being shutout in the tourney by knocking off Interstate Eight Conference rival Plano.

LaSalle-Peru 48, Streator 47

The first half of this contest was all about trading baskets, with neither team able to put together a sustained run in the pre-intermission periods. L-P led 14-10 after one quarter and held a 28-26 edge at the half. That trend continued for the first seven minutes of the third frame, with the Cavaliers leading 33-29 with a little over a minute to go.

But then the entire complexion of the game took a dramatic swerve in the final minute of that period. The Cavs' Chad Sipovic scored on a fast-break basket and Dan Dresbach tipped in a rebound of his own shot at the buzzer to begin a nine-point L-P run.

Sipovic scored the first five points of the final period to put L-P in front 42-29, but then it was Streator's turn to put a string of points together. A hoop from Sean Ramon and a trey by Brooks Martin got things rolling for the Bulldogs. Ryan Ingold then connected on a three-ball, drew a foul and converted the free throw for a superfecta. Jake Hollinsaid made a pair of foul shots to complete an 11-point Bulldog run, cutting the Cavs lead to 42-40.

However, the Cavaliers made six free throws in the final 1:22 to hold off Streator (1-4), which sank a couple of foul shots, scored on a trey and hit a deuce at the buzzer to wind up one point short.

"I talked in the preseason about how this team had to learn," said Streator coach Brandon Creason. "We put that zone offense in yesterday. We went through that offense in a walk-through and we didn't really even practice it. We still weren't sure of our rotation or where the ball should go. At the timeout, I stressed getting the ball into the high-post and good things would happen. The defense has to collapse and then we could kick it out.

"I can't fault these kids. We're progressing and I thought we played outstanding basketball tonight and we are progressing."

Sipovic led L-P with 23 points, with Dresbach taking rebounding honors with nine. For Streator, Brandon Van Duzer scored 12 points and had nine rebounds. Martin, Ingold and Hollinsaid had eight points apiece.

Sandwich 83, Plano 77

Both clubs pushed the ball up the court as quickly as possible for most of the night, but the game was decided on the slowest of all types of plays: free throws.

Sandwich made 34 foul shots and went 19 of 22 in the fourth quarter, while Plano made just 10 of its 25 free throw attempts for the game.

"We struggled with the free throws and while we missed them, they made them," said Plano coach Nate Spriggs. "We're usually a decent free throw shooting team but tonight we were just horrible. I can't explain it. ... We struggled tonight getting rebounds, too. The Meyers kid for them did a great job on the glass. ... It was just one of those nights where things didn't go our way."

Sandwich led 16-14 at the end of the first period and held a 37-35 advantage at the end of a half in which the score was tied on seven times, with two lead changes.

A three-pointer by Plano's Matt Priesman at 4:39 of the third quarter made it 43-all. Mike Meyer made a couple of free throws for Sandwich, but Alex Jensen put Plano back on top with a trifecta, 46-45. That turned out to be the last Reaper lead of the night as the Indians reeled off the next 11 points, the last two a pair of free throws by Lance Futrell with 24 seconds to go, for the first double-figure lead of the night, 56-46.

Plano scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, completing a seven-point run, but a putback by Nate Roach, a bucket by Travis Van Pelt and two more free throws by Futrell put the Indians back in charge. The nearest Plano could get the rest of the way was five points.

"We set a rule this afternoon that nobody was allowed to take a three-point shot until they had already made a basket or two free throws," said Sandwich coach Chris Johnson. "That's why tonight we had very few three-point attempts. ... I know the Plano guys don't all have the football legs to basketball legs yet, and we saw that to our advantage. We just kept running and they were huffing and puffing. That's was our plan."

Van Pelt led Sandwich (1-4) with 22 points, followed by Roach with 15, Meyer 14 points and 14 rebounds, Futrell 13 points and Gil Buttels with 12 points and five assists. Plano (2-3) was paced by Priesman with 20 points, with Brook Bott adding 14 points and three steals, Jensen 16 points and Jake Wilson 12 points and nine rebounds.


Plano struggles at Sandwich Turkey Tourney
Reapers rusty coming off football

By Bill Lidinsky- Plano Record

Nobody thought it would be easy. In fact, most Plano High School varsity basketball fans figured that the transition from IHSA playoff football to opening season tournament basketball with no practice would yield little if any success.
Looking very tired at times, but equally explosive in other instances, the 2005-06 Reapers hoop squad gutted out a 2-3 record good enough for third place during the six team Sandwich Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament last week. The effort proved to be a testament to the true athletic nature of this years players that moved from 3A semifinal football on Saturday Nov. 19 to tourney basketball on Monday Nov. 21.
“It’s a lot tougher than I thought coming over from football. Even after five games I’m still not in shape. My legs still are getting tired as the games wear on,” said Plano point guard Alex Jensen. “Jake (Wilson) and Brook (Bott) I think feel the same way. I know Brook does because we talked about it. We’ve just got to stick it out and get some practices in and improve our conditioning. I’ve never played competitively like this for five games with absolutely no practice with my teammates. It’s pretty weird.”
Jensen however shook off the “weirdness” and was named to the seven player Sandwich All Tournament team as he averaged 14 points per game including 20 against Streator in a 61-60 victory on Friday night.
“Al played great against Streator with 20 points and had fabulous defense against their top kid,” said Plano head basketball coach Nate Spriggs. “The nights when he comes to play, decides to defend, and brings his entire game, we are a very tough team to beat with everybody else in the mix.”
Unfortunately Jensen wasn’t as sharp in every game showing the effects of the football layoff. After last Monday night’s initial loss in game one to LaSalle-Peru, the Reapers grabbed their first victory of the year on Tuesday by downing Oswego East 59-55 in overtime.
Jensen led the way with 17, while senior Will Brown and junior Obina Agomo each chipped in 14 as Plano moved to 1-1 on the tourney.
But on the next night on Wednesday, the Reapers looked flat against Aurora Central Catholic. Despite being tied at 38 after three quarters, Plano wilted down the stretch and lost 58-50. Bott led all scorers with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the three-point arch. The junior seemed extremely sharp from long range over the five game stint knocking down a total of 15 triples on the tourney.
“I’m starting off the year well from the three-point circle. I can’t remember a run of games last season when I shot the three ball so well,” Bott said. “I’m surprised I wasn’t more rusty shooting, but my legs do feel tired though. Hopefully I can start working on pentrating for some points inside in addition to the three-point shots.”
The Reapers wound up the tournament with the Streator win on Friday and were set to end the five day grind on a high note versus Sandwich on Saturday. But the hosts had other ideas. The Indians used an up tempo “run and gun” style to wear down Plano. In the end despite knocking down a whopping 13 three-pointers, the Reapers struggled mightily from the free throw line in a 83-77 loss.
The lack of practice time from the charity stripe was quite evident as Plano made only 10-of-25 attempts, while Sandwich poured in 34-of-49 free tosses capitalizing on fresher legs and what seemed to be a flurry of Reaper fouls throughout the contest. Jensen, Bott, Brown, and Agomo all fouled out as Plano finished the tournament with two wins and three losses. Senior Matt Priesman led the Reapers with 20 points including four triples against the Indians. Travis Van Pelt paced Sandwich with 22.
“We know especially after this tournament that we can hit the three’s effectively. If Al and myself along with Brook, and Brian (Green) can heat up like we did against Sandwich we shouldn’t lose,” Priesman said. “Normally hitting 13 threes should guarantee a win, but our free throw shooting is what killed us. As we get time to really practice, I know that part of our game will fall into place also.”
In addition to Priesman’s triples, Bott knocked down four along with three from Green and two from Jensen. Senior Wilson also added 13 points for Plano with some strong inside play. But in the end the missed opportunities at the free throw line was the difference against the Indians.
“We were lucky to be within six at the end of the game. Sandwich made 34 free throws and we made 10. I credit Chris Johnson for having his guys prepared despite being 0-4 going into the game with us,” Spriggs said. “I can only guess our failure at the line is due to lack of gym time. You’d figure if we can hit 13 three-pointers we should be able to hit at least 50 or 60 percent of our free throws. But we’ll get better I’m sure of that.”
LaSalle-Peru finished first in the tourney with a perfect 5-0 record, while ACC was second at 4-1. The Reapers were third at 2-3, while Oswego East was fourth also at 2-3 by virtue of their loss to Plano. Streator was fifth at 1-4, while Sandwich was sixth at 1-4 having lost to Streator earlier in the week.
Plano is next in action at Newark on Tuesday before opening the Interstate Eight Conference regular season at Reed-Custer on Friday night in Braidwood. Two more tough games in the upcoming week. But the Reapers will have the “luxury” of their first three days of practice as a team, hoping to work out some of the kinks experienced in the football to basketball transition at Sandwich.
“We’ve got the goal to being at full steam come the “Reaper Classic” at the end of December. We’ll start to work together in practice this week, while continuing to get better and move forward against Newark and Reed-Custer,” Spriggs said. “I wish we could’ve ended the tournament with a win especially against Sandwich, but I’m proud of how hard our guys worked together and I’m very optimistic about where we’re headed this season.”

Chargers shake off blowout to get fourth tourney win

By Mike Knapp

SANDWICH When playing in holiday tournaments, it's good to have a short memory.

It certainly worked here for Aurora Central at the Sandwich Thanksgiving Tournament. Taking the floor less than 24 hours after a blowout loss to LaSalle-Peru, the Chargers shook off a slow start to pull out a 52-49 win Saturday over Oswego East.

"The great thing is that we didn't have to sit on that (loss) for a week," said ACC coach Nathan Drye. "We bounced right back, and we told the kids that if we won this game we would forget about that one."

It helps that the Chargers can put seniors on the floor in crunch time, but it was also a big boost to have the tournament's biggest player in an ACC uniform. Six-foot-seven senior Mike Benjamin took the team on his shoulders and helped break the Chargers out of a funk that got them in an early hole.

The Chargers struggled against the Wolves' defense through the game's first 12 minutes, turning the ball over 12 times and having just three field goals for the effort. Behind nine points by Avrey Smith (19 points) and two treys by Lionell Holmes (nine points), Oswego East held a 24-13 lead when Desmond Cummings put back an offensive rebound with 2:45 to go.

But Benjamin began to find his shot and scored all of the Chargers' points in an 8-2 run that closed out the quarter and cut the Wolves' lead to 26-21 at the break.

"Coach talked about how someone had to take the ball in their hands and take the game over," said Benjamin, who finished with 20 points and six rebounds. "I was just stepping out into the short corner, and I knew they couldn't guard that over there."

"Mike just bailed us out," Drye said. "I think it would have been like 26-0 if it wasn't for him. That's what a good player does when we were struggling he kept us in the game."

The Chargers kept coming in the third quarter, and finally took the lead (34-33) on a layup by senior Justin Patterson with 2:45 to play. Nick Nelson (10 points) then scored six quick points to start the fourth quarter, and all of the sudden the Chargers were up 10 (44-34) two minutes into the period.

The Wolves then threw together a run of their own, and a jumper by Skyler Ormsbee (nine points, 10 boards) capped a 12-2 surge and tied the game at 46-all with 1:40 to go.

Central didn't have a field goal after that, but went a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line. Benjamin canned two with 21 seconds to play to give ACC a 48-46 lead, then Patterson stole the ball at half court and hit two more with 12.9 to go. After Holmes nailed a deep three from the corner to make it a 50-49 game, Riley Totten was fouled on the inbounds but stepped to the line and made both of his with 2.9 seconds to play to ice the game for the Chargers.

"Everybody came through in the second half," Drye said. "The bench helped us out a lot. Justin played a great tournament, and Riley is our designated free-throw shooter, so it was nice we got him on the line at the end. That's the guy we want on the free-throw line."

The win gave the Chargers a 4-1 record in the tournament, and a week into the season they are already halfway to their win total of last year.

"We'll take 4-1," Drye said. "I'm a happy man right now."

Sandwich 83, Plano 77 Sandwich used a 34-10 edge at the free throw line to offset an onslaught of 13 Plano 3-pointers.

Five Indians scored in double figures, led by 22 points from Travis Van Pelt. Nate Roach added 15 for Sandwich, while Mike Meyer added 14 points, Lance Futrell 13, and Gil Buttels 12.

Plano was led by 20 points by Matt Priesman. Alex Jensen had 16 points, Brook Bott 14, and Jake Wilson 12.