The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

December 18, 2013

Trojans storm past Toppers

DANVILLE —Central Illinois was hit hard with a snowstorm this past weekend, and the possibility for more bad weather is in the forecast for later this week. While there was no snow inside Paul C. Shebby Gymnasium at Schlarman Academy on Tuesday, it was raining.

It was raining threes in the first quarter as four of Schlarman Academy’s first five baskets against Armstrong-Potomac were drained from long range.

Trojans senior center Shawn Johnson, however, created a mini storm of his own and set the tone en route to Armstrong-Potomac’s 49-41 win over the still winless Hilltoppers. The win was the Trojans’ second of the season.

“It feels great,” Johnson said of the win and his personal performance. “It’s awesome. I don’t know how to explain it, but I got a little tingling sensation in my stomach. It’s just awesome.”

Part of the feeling might have been from him single-handedly keeping his team in a game that had the potential of getting out of hand early.

Schlarman Academy’s Gannon Hughes (11 points) hit a three from the left corner nine seconds into the game. It was immediately followed by one from Gavin Stines (eight points, nine rebounds, four assists), and then eight consecutive points from sophomore guard Michael Simmons. Simmons (10 points, four rebounds, three steals) hit back-to-back three-pointers, and the Hilltoppers led 14-10 two minutes into the contest.

But while Schlarman Academy (0-7 overall, 0-2 in the Vermilion Valley Conference) was hitting from all angles, it couldn’t find an answer for Johnson who was a perfect six-for-six in the first quarter.

By the end of the first period, the score was: Schlarman Academy 18, Shawn Johnson 12.

“He definitely set the tone, especially when they came out hitting threes like they did,” Armstrong-Potomac coach Sean O’Brien said. “That zone defense that we’ve been playing has kept us in a lot of games. As everyone knows, if you’re playing a zone and they come out hot — which they did, and they were no-doubters. They came out firing. It was very vital at the first of this game to have him match some of that and keep us in it.”

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