In addition to Smith finding his scoring touch in the second half, Danville’s Kemony Lester came off the bench to drain three second-half 3-pointers, the last pulled the Vikings within 57-54 with 1 minute, 49 seconds left. Lester finished with 12 points.
“His energy was great and we know that he hit those big shots when he get the opportunity,’’ Houpt said. “He gave us a great scoring boost, and that’s the type of things we are going to need to win games this season.’’
And while Lester’s contribution was important, Manual got an even bigger spark off its bench.
Delano Jones scored a game-high 21 points, including three 3-pointers, as the Rams outscored the Vikings 32-12 in bench points.
Manual shot a remarkable 58 percent in the second half as the Rams outscored the Vikings 50-44 in the final two quarters.
Danville will play Joliet West, a 63-40 loser to Aurora West, at 2:30 p.m. today in the consolation bracket. The winner will advance to Saturday’s play while the loser will be finished in the tournament. Today’s game can be heard locally on WDAN-AM 1490.