FAYETTE BOYS BASKETBALL: Fayette started off strong at home Thursday against Hilltop and ended with a BBC victory.
After a 17-4 first-quarter advantage, the Eagles held on for a 59-51 win.
“We got off to a really good start,” coach Todd Mitchell said. “We were really aggressive offensively and I think we might have gone ahead 14-0.”
His squad attacked the basket well, Mitchell said, and seven players all put points on the board in the first eight minutes.
Hilltop’s Smith found his range in the second quarter, and even though Fayette upped its lead by two at half-time, the Cadets were finally putting points on the board.
Smith was a surprise, Mitchell said. His scouting report showed the guard scoring only eight points in the previous two games, but he scored 11 by intermission and didn’t slow down in the second half. He finished with 25.
“We just couldn’t stop him,” Mitchell said.
The Eagles scoring slowed after the break and nearly cost them the game.
“We talked at half about how they were going to come out with more intensity and press us,” Mitchell said, but the Eagles didn’t respond well.
Only three buckets and one-for-four free throw shooting by Fayette allowed the Cadets to pull within six going into the final quarter.
Fayette came through with its highest output of the evening—21 points—and Hilltop was just behind with 19 points.
Shelby Franks went two-for-two from the line and Austin Hylander hit three of four, including the front end of a one-and-one, to secure the win.
“Those free throws at the end were a big key,” Mitchell said.
The Eagles shot eight of 19 for the night as free throws continue to be a problem. The team’s season percentage isn’t much above 30 percent.
Hylander was the only Eagle to make double figures with 11, but six players scored seven or more points to spread the offense around.
Coty Griffiths finished with 10 rebounds (nine on defense) and two steals. Coach Mitchell is pleased with how Griffiths is taking charge and serving as a leader on the court.
Hylander and Elliot Richardson each collected six rebounds as the Eagles took the edge under the boards.
Franks gave two assists and grabbed a pair of steals.
HICKSVILLE—Fayette and Hicksville kept it close all night Monday, but the Aces stayed out front just enough for the victory. The visitors took a 62-56 win in a game that was rescheduled from Saturday.
Hylander finished with 17 points, including a six-for-seven showing at the line. Shelby Franks hit four for four and Evan Stoltzfus missed only one of four tries.
• The Eagles head Thursday to Pettisville for a tough BBC contest and entertain Edgerton on Saturday.
JV BOYS: Fayette’s JV boys split a pair of contests, dropping a league game and winning the non-conference match.
Hicksville fell 36-30 Monday night in a non-league game rescheduled from Saturday.
The Eagles trailed after the first quarter despite an 11-point flurry of baskets from Trevor Cox. Dakota Lantz came through with nine in the second quarter—Fayette’s only points—to take the lead.
The Eagles hit only a single bucket in the fourth quarter, but added five points from the line to win.
Cox finished with 20 points and Lantz with 11.
A weak third quarter by Fayette allowed Hilltop to come from behind and take a five-point lead heading into the final quarter Thursday. It didn’t get much better for the Eagles in the final stanza and the Cadets claimed a 36-28 win.
Fayette connected on only one bucket in the second half, while scoring six from the line.
Cox led scoring with 19.
FAYETTE FROSH: Fayette’s freshmen needed a pair of overtime sessions to get the job done Monday, finally posting a 52-47 victory over Hilltop.
Tied 41-41 after regulation play, the Eagles couldn’t get the free throws to fall in the first overtime, but that changed when they had another chance.
Jessie Rodriguez scored two buckets and two free throws for a 7-2 advantage over the Cadets.
Minzey led Fayette’s scoring with 22 points.
MORENCI BOYS BASKETBALL: Enough of the close games that result losses. Morenci finally placed one in the win column Monday night with an 86-69 TCC victory against Britton.
The Tories are still looking for their first victory in six games.
Britton has been having problems, too, Morenci coach Tim Bovee said.
“We took advantage of what they gave us,” he said. “The kids played well, and shot a lot better. It was a good night and I hope it’s a confidence builder.”
There’s still a lot to work on Bovee said, but he thinks his squad is learning and doing a more successful job of putting what they’re seeing in practice into place in a game.
He saw the defense let up some and he’s cautioning the squad about letting that happen.
“The kids have always played hard, but they have to understand that you can’t let up,” he said.
The Bulldogs stayed on top far enough to allow for ample subbing late in the game, Bovee said, and he saw some good effort off the bench. Chas Frey, for example, showed great hustle on defense and Isaac Jeffers played a good game in starting for Anthony Tompkins whose play was limited as he recovers from an ankle injury.
Clayton Wolf played an all-around strong game, finishing with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Most of his points, Bovee said, were hard-working baskets inside the paint.
Brett Bovee added 19 points and gave eight assists. Matt Hoadley scored 12 points and Jarrett Keller gave nine assists.
MADISON—A visit from Madison ended in frustration for the Bulldogs last Tuesday as Morenci gave up a half-time lead and ended with a 46-43 loss.
The teams were tied going into the final quarter, but the Trojans took an 11-8 edge to win their first game of the season.
Madison made many more trips to the the free throw line, connecting on 13 of 27 shots to Morenci’s six of 15.
Jeffers led Bulldog scoring with 10 points. Wolf collected 13 rebounds and Hoadley brought in 11.
• Coach Bovee wants to build on the Bulldogs’ win at Britton when Morenci travels Thursday to Hudson for a non-league contest. That’s followed with a trip to Summerfield on Tuesday.
JV BOYS: Morenci’s JV boys took a seven-point lead over Madison by half-time Jan. 6, then doubled it by game’s end to claim a 50-36 victory.
Madison had the fastest team the Bulldogs have faced this season and they presented a very aggressive defense, but it was Morenci’s own defensive game that made the difference, coach John Craig said.
“In the second half we switched to a half-court press and I thought that was the difference in the game,” he said. “It created some turnovers.”
Craig described the game as a good team win, with the Bulldogs playing hard and adjusting to the Trojan press.
Brad Funchion and Lucas Hollstein controlled the inside for Morenci, until Funchion left the game with a broken ankle.
Larry Barron came off the bench to give his strongest showing of the season, Craig said. Barron helped out a lot when some starters went to the bench with foul problems.
Andrew White was suffering from illness but still shared scoring honors with Luke Craig, each finishing with 12 points. Hollstein added 10 points.
MORENCI GIRLS BASKETBALL: Clinton’s varsity girls had an undefeated season going until their trip Thursday to Morenci.
The Bulldogs held a slim five-point lead as intermission neared, but Chandler McCaskey let loose with a half-court shot just before the buzzer and swished through the rim for a momentum booster.
The visitors managed to pull within two points with less than five minutes to play, but Morenci came back strong to post a 50-38 TCC win.
After catching up at 4:16 in the fourth quarter, Clinton was nearly shut down as the Bulldogs went on a 13-3 offensive.
“It was a nice team win,” coach Jim Yatzek said. “We seem to be getting the joy back, just going out and having fun. I think we’re getting a little tougher mentally.”
Clinton seemed to be trying to develop an inside game, Yatzek said, but Tia Tompkins got in the way of that effort and finished with seven blocks.
Amy Gillman played well, also, he said, crediting her with a lot of important details that don’t often get noticed.
Yatzek made an offensive change at the Whiteford game Jan. 5, putting Jade Pfund in control of bringing the ball down court. He was pleased with her effort, and relieving McCaskey of that duty seemed to improve her play overall.
WHITEFORD—The Bulldogs picked up their first win of the season at Whiteford, coming home with a 50-39 victory.
Nicolette Swimmer scored 18 points in the first half as the Bulldogs went on top 27-18 at intermission. Morenci never did pull away for a big win, but they maintained a lead throughout.
When the Bobcats worked hard to shut down Swimmer in the second half, seven other players added points.
Free throws remain a concern, Yatzek said, as the Bulldogs hit only four of 17.
Swimmer’s stats included 17 rebounds, seven steals, three assists and three blocks.
• Coach Yatzek looked to continue reversing Morenci’s 0-4 start with a trip to Summerfield Tuesday night. The varsity travels to Britton on Friday while the JV squad visits Sand Creek.
JV: After a weak showing at Whiteford, Morenci’s JV girls held on to down Clinton at home Thursday, 57-54.
The Bulldogs came on strong in the opening quarter with a 19-9 lead. They couldn’t maintain that big of an advantage, but they did manage to stay on top.
Three starters were on the bench during portions of the second quarter with Clinton closed the gap to a point by half-time.
Phoenix Duncan led scoring with 22 points, followed by Chelsea Phillips with 13 and Matea Garcia added 11.
At Whiteford, the Bulldogs managed to close the gap to one point, but slid back down and lost 41-29.
Morenci didn’t move the ball well, said varsity coach Jim Yatzek.
Duncan scored 11 points and Phillips added eight.
The JVs travel Friday to Sand Creek while the varsity squad goes to Britton.
LITTLE LEAGUE: A Morenci Little League baseball and softball meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, at City Hall.
All coaches, umpires, parents and volunteers are encouraged to attend. Agenda items will include approving the 2009 budget, setting registration dates for baseball and softball and planning the 2009 season.
BOW SHOOT: Indoor bow shoots are scheduled at Morenci Sportsman’s Club beginning Feb. 1, and running through April 5. This is not a league.
Youth shoots are scheduled at noon at no charge, and the club will provide bows if needed. Adult shoots are planned at 7 p.m. and cost $5 for club members and $8 for non-members.
For more information, call 517/458-7878.