The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

November 25, 2012

Toppers gobble up Tigers

DANVILLE — Suffering their first loss of the season on Friday to St. Thomas More left a bad taste in the mouths of the Schlarman Academy Hilltoppers. Dropping a five-point decision to a more experienced team in the midst of adversity could have been scored a victory in the minds of the youthful Hilltoppers. But it wasn’t.

Coming so close to winning a game when the odds were stacked against them only made Schlarman Academy hungrier.

Fortunately, the Hilltoppers had less than 24 hours to let their hunger build, and when they finally took the court on Saturday, were able to feast on the Paris Tigers in a 54-42 win in the finale of the Topper Classic.

“It really motivated us to push ourselves to be better,” Hilltoppers senior guard Austin Calhoun said. “We got a bad taste of losing, and we wanted to get back to that mental state of always being competitors and winning. That’s what pushed us.

“I think it shows a lot about our players and our hard work in how we were able to bounce back from a loss that was pretty important last night,” he continued. “I think it shows a lot about our character as players to be able to bounce back and get a win the next day.”

Schlarman Academy improved to 2-1 overall with the win, showing immediate improvement from last season’s record. The Hilltoppers began the 2011-2012 campaign 3-7 and didn’t record their second win until six games into the season.

First year head coach Gary Tidwell credits the team’s senior leadership of Calhoun, Andrew Kelley, and Maher Samawi for leading the young squad and keeping it positive even when adversity might strike.

Despite earning a 12-point win, the Hilltoppers struggled to gain control early in the contest. The Tigers (1-2) got into foul trouble in the first quarter, but instead of Schlarman Academy taking advantage, it was Paris that went on a 9-0 run during a four-minute, eight second stretch in the second quarter.

The Hilltoppers trailed 26-21 at the break, but quickly regained momentum with the help of a 9-1 run of their own at the beginning of the second half. The outburst gave Schlarman Academy the lead at the 6:27 mark of the third, and ultimately stretched its advantage to eight points while Paris remained scoreless for over two minutes.

Much of the success was a result of working the ball inside to 6-foot-6 forward Chris Kuchefski.

“Chris stepped up and Austin did a nice job getting the ball to him,” Tidwell said. “That was a big pressure release because they were pressuring our guards pretty heavily on the outside. Chris relieved that pressure quite a bit. He had an outstanding game tonight.”

Kuchefski finished the game with 10 points and seven rebounds, and also swatted four blocks on the defensive end of the court.

Calhoun led all scorers with 25 points, and had seven rebounds, three steals, and one block. Having Calhoun in the lineup for the entire contest definitely paid off for the Hilltoppers, but Tidwell also began to see glimpses of maturation in freshmen starters Michael Simmons and Gannon Hughes.

Simmons scored 11 points including a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer that pulled the Hilltoppers to within five, and another three in the fourth quarter just after Schlarman Academy took its final lead of the game. Hughes also scored eight points on two three-pointers and a pair of free throws that cushioned his team’s lead with only 54 seconds remaining in the game.

But Tidwell was also pleased with the way they handled a situation late in the fourth when, with an eight-point lead, the Hilltoppers were patient during a one-minute, 20-second possession that forced the Tigers to begin fouling with just under three minutes to go.

“I think our freshmen kept their composure late in the game,” Tidwell said. “We had a lead at the end at the two-and-a-half or three-minute mark. We wanted to pull it out. They weren’t in the bonus yet. I thought we were smart overall with the basketball. It was the first opportunity as a team, especially with the younger guys, to be put in that position, and they did a great job.”

Calhoun finished the tournament with a total of 67 points and was named to the all-tournament team, as was Landon Larrance of Paris, Judah Christian’s Ethan Chitty, and St. Thomas More guard Kyler Jones. St. Thomas More’s Kevin Carroll was named the tournament MVP. St. Thomas More secured its third Topper Classic title since 2009 while the Hilltoppers finished second.

Schlarman Academy will have a break before jumping into Vermilion Valley Conference play on December 7 against defending conference champs, Bismarck-Henning.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT - CN0731 - Dans photo 1 Danville boots one away DANVILLE — Keith Shumaker, an every day first baseman, was tied for the team lead in RBIs this season, before making his first start on the mound.But that was the least of the concerns for the Danville Dans, who made four fielding errors en route to

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYProspect League BaseballWest Virginia Miners at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.Local TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North Montgomery, 3:30 p.m.FRIDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North MontgomerySATURDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tourname

    July 31, 2014

  • SPT - CN0730 - Dans baseball photo 1 Dans continue to struggle DANVILLE — The Danville Dans haven’t exactly been playing their best baseball in the second half of the season. After taking the West Division title in the first half with a 19-11 record, Danville has played sub-.500 baseball in the second half and c

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0730 - Illini football media photo Experienced Illini looking for success CHICAGO — Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Tim Beckman is hoping that the third time is the charm.Beckman begins his third season at the helm of the Illini, and with the nucleus of last season’s team returning, it may finally be time for Illinois

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - CN0730 - Purdue football media photo Hazell hopes for smooth second season CHICAGO — After a season to forget in 2013, Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell is expecting better results as his team begins training camp next week. Hazell spoke to the media during the 2014 Big Ten Football Media Days at the Hilton Chicago, and afte

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYProspect League BaseballHannibal Cavemen at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.THURSDAYProspect League BaseballWest Virginia Miners at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.Local TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North Montgomery, 3:30 p.m.FRIDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt

    July 30, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Dustbowl photo 2 Repeat performance Championship Sunday was in full swing at the 42nd Annual Dustbowl at David S. Palmer Arena. In the men’s division it was defending champions Leek & Sons against the Hickory Beavers. Leek & Sons made it back to back championships with a 29-point victo

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0729 - Brickyard photo Gordon kisses 'The Bricks' for 5th time INDIANAPOLIS — The common gift for a 20th anniversary is either china or platinum.But for Jeff Gordon on Sunday, he was more interested in the PPG Trophy made of gold, sterling silver and alloy aluminum and the native of Pittsboro, Ind., wasn’t going

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Old friends meet again in city tourney DANVILLE — Gene Gourley and Bryan Stine have a lot of history on the tennis court. The two of them, who have been playing each other at the Danville Tennis Center for over 20 years, renewed their rivalry again on Sunday during the Greater Danville Ar

    July 29, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Junior Dustbowl photo Free throws decide junior Dustbowl title DANVILLE — In the boys’s Division it was DV Stars vs. Squad for the Championship with the Squad coming back from an early 16-point deficit to beat DV Stars 59-55 in overtime. Squads Parker Lee made one of two free throws with 18 seconds left in regul

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

E-edition
NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014


Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here: http://smu.gs/1iCWKnP

Must Read
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza