FULTON, Ill. — Saturday was a busy day for area basketball as 14 teams participated in the annual Eric Ottens Memorial Shootout in Fulton.
The event is put on by the high school every year to remember former basketball player Eric Ottens, who played basketball from 1998-2001. Ottens holds the highest number of career rebounds by a Steamer and the 3rd highest number of career points along with other accolades he accumulated on the basketball squad.
“That was a really good day,” Fulton Coach RJ Coffey said about the tournament. “The shootout went really well again. A lot of people did amazing things and put a lot of time and effort into putting together a really good day.
“We try to put on a lot of great games together in memory of an all-time great like Eric, and I think we did that.”
The Northeast Rebels lost their second straight for the first time this season after letting a lead slip late in the fourth quarter to lose 47-45 to Rock Island Alleman. The state-ranked Rebels lost Friday night as well, letting a lead go with six minutes left to play.
“I did not think we were very good with the ball. We got lazy and had too many turnovers,” Northeast Coach Travis Eversmeyer said. “We have to find ways to close out games the last four minutes.”
The Pioneers scored two quick baskets right off the bat against the Rebels before Collin Swanton drove down the floor for a layup. Three quick turnovers by the Rebels, though, forced Eversmeyer to call a timeout.
“It was uncharacteristic the last two nights and we have to go back to the drawing board,” Eversmeyer said about the high number of turnovers he saw from his team. “They pressured us full court and got into us — it’s a little bit more physical over here than it is in Iowa. We didn’t handle it very well.”
Still, Northeast had the lead at halftime. By the fourth quarter, they had a seven point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game. Alleman’s Guarav Patwal drove into the lane and hit the shot with the foul for the three-point play, and then Northeast turned it over in the back court to let Alleman’s Andrew Barrett hit an easy jumper. All of a sudden the Pioneers had closed it to two.
“We have to put people away,” Eversmeyer said. Northeast didn’t put up another point the last five minutes of the game. “They got a couple second chance opportunities. Defensively we were right where we needed to be but offensively the last two nights we’ve been kind of anemic. We have to start getting points inside and outside.”
Alleman put in a free throw and forced yet another turnover to allow Will Mihm a layup and the Pioneers took their first lead since early in the first quarter and they held on to it.
Dawson Stoll and Trey McAleer led the scoring for the Rebels with 11 points each. Braeden Hoyer and Collin Swanton had six a piece, and Luke Empen pitched in five more.
“We made some plays and stretched it out against a good Western Big 6 team,” Evermeyer said. “Obviously we’re focused on the disappointment of losing, but their effort day in and day out has been outstanding and as long as we continue to defend well we’ll continue to give ourselves a chance.”
River Kings can’t handle Phoenix
Not much seemed to go right for the River Kings at the shootout in an 83-38 loss to Chicago North Lawndale.
“Put it in the rearview mirror and move on,” Clinton Coach Chris Powers said. “There’s not a lot you can take from this game. I told them I already moved on and it’s time to get ready for practice Monday.”
The Phoenix — who are ranked No. 14 in the Illinois state rankings — had no issue pressuring the River Kings. After just one quarter the Phoenix led 20-7 and they only capitalized on the River King turnovers.
“We had our season high turnover and didn’t handle anything well,” Powers said. “All they can learn from this is we have to get better.”
North Lawndale came in with a considerable height advantage and with a talented bench. Four of the Phoenix athletes scored in double digits and 11 of them put points on the board.The River Kings on the other hand have had problems with injuries and problems scoring all season.
“Those are the teams we struggle with: the teams that are fast, athletic, trap and press,” Power said. “We haven’t had any luck against those teams this year and are just bad match ups for us. Hopefully, the kids learn from it and move on. I know we won’t see anything like that pressure wise, trap wise or athletic wise the rest of the year.”
LJ Henderson was the leading scorer for the the River Kings. It was just his second game back after being out for a week with a hand injury.
“It’s nice to have him back,” Powers said. “He has a little rust to get off, but it’s coming off.”
Louis Harris is also getting back into the swing of things after being benched by an ankle injury for a while. He made an impact on the game with significant rebounds and physical post play, despite the loss.
“He played well and that was nice to see,” Powers said. Harris had five points for the Kings. “He’s been out for a while and it’s nice to get him back. We have to get his conditioning and basketball legs back.”
Devonte McGee hit two 3-point field goals in the second half to score six. Powers hopes that the outside shooting continues to be a part of the game going back into MAC play this week.
“Devonte McGee hit a couple of threes there when we needed them so hopefully that gets him going. He hasn’t been hitting shots lately so to see a couple go down will help his confidence. We get a little pressure on us we get a little timid.”
Clinton heads back into conference play this week, welcoming Davenport North on Tuesday and Burlington on Friday for varsity double headers at Yourd Gymnasium.
River Hawks spoil Thunder comeback
Easton Valley held off a comeback effort from the West Carroll Thunder in their Eric Ottens Shootout game, winning 52-46 in overtime thanks to some big free throws at the end.
A close game through the first half, the River Hawks had spread it to a seven point advantage by the time the fourth hit. The Thunder weren’t done, and tied everything up at 43 by the time the final buzzer went off to send the game to overtime.
The River Hawks ran the table in overtime, and hit 4-6 from the line in the extra minutes to solidify their lead.
Pecatonica handles Erie
Even with 20 points from Josh Hammer, the Erie Cardinals couldn’t find enough to put on the board and fell to Pecatonica 45-36 in their shootout game.
The Cardinals fell behind early, trailing by five after eight minutes of play. They never dug their way back.
Pecatonica had even scoring from five of it’s players. Joseph Hennessy, Adam Green, and Kelton Gann all had nine points a piece while Taylor Swanson pitched in eight and Cole Heim added seven.
Daugherty, Bellevue top Stillman Valley
Cade Daugherty had 29 points to help lead the Comets over Stillman Valley 70-65.
Bellevue used a big third quarter to pull away from Stillman Valley after a close game through the half. The Comets outscored Stillman Valley 17-11 to take the eight point lead going into the final eight minutes.
Bellevue shot 12-16 from the free throw line as a squad, including 8-9 in the fourth quarter when Stillman Valley fouled to stop the clock. They Comets also drained eight threes on the night, four from Daugherty and four from the next highest scorer, Paxton Felderman.
Somonauk take down Prophets
A big second half pushed Somonauk passed Prophetstown 63-28.
The Prophets had the one points advantage after one quarter of play and only trailed by two points at half-time. Somonauk came out in the third and outscored Prophetstown 17-8, and then continued on the offensive roll in the fourth scoring another 21.
Brayton Lavine led the Prophets with 20 points while Logan Henrekin pitched in 10.
Liam Roberts had 20 for Somonauk and Clifford Ciesielczyk added 10 more to the mix.