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 - CN0821 - GeoRF photo 1 Realizing potential GEORGETOWN — Ask almost anyone in Vermilion County about the Georgetown-Ridge Farm football team and the typical response you will get will talk about their talent.And this season is no different.The Buffaloes return 10 starters from last year’s play

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vikings compete in Classic BLOOMINGTON — The Danville boys golf team ended up 22nd as a team at the Raider Classic at the Den Golf Course on WednesdayReed Krynski led the Vikings with a score of 91 on the par 72 course, with Christian Montgomery scoring a 97, Tristan Wolfe an

    August 21, 2014

  • SPT - CN0820 - BisHenn photo 1 Going the extra mile BISMARCK — Bismarck-Henning coach Mark Dodd has really enjoyed the last few years.Not just because of the two straight Vermilion Valley Conference titles and a almost three-year unbeaten run in regular season action, but because of working with playe

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • LOCAL ROUNDUP: Trojans defeat Chargers in volleyball opener CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. — It took all five sets but the Covington Lady Trojans opened the year with a hard-fought 24-26, 25-22, 25-21, 19-25, 16-14 victory over the North Montgomery Chargers in prep volleyball action on Tuesday night.Brooke Ahrens led t

    August 20, 2014

  • SPT - CN0819 - Seeger photo 1 Patriots make changes WEST LEBANON, Ind. – Success for the Seeger Patriot football team this season will depend on two things.They will rely on technique and teamwork to reach their goals.“We’ve got a little bit of size, a little bit of speed and a few guys with a lot of

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • B-H's Warren claims Urbana Kick-Off Classic URBANA — Bismarck-Henning’s David Warren kicked off his senior season in style, winning the Urbana Kick-Off Classic at the Urbana Country Club.Warren shot a 4-over 76 to earn a one-stroke victory over Champaign Centennial’s Isaac Overman (77), while

    August 19, 2014

  • SPT - CN0817 - North Vermillion photo 1 Trying to fill big holes CAYUGA, Ind. — Brayden Woodard and his senior teammates on the 2013 North Vermillion football team left their mark on the Wabash River Conference.The Falcons won back-to-back undefeated league titles and they enter this season with a 15-game winning

    August 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0816 - Fountain Central photo 2 New names, same goals VEEDERSBURG, Ind. — While the names might change, the goals and expectations for the Fountain Central football team remain the same.The Mustangs, who went 11-2 last year with a sectional championship, are looking to replace 60 percent of their offens

    August 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT- CN0815 - Covington football photo 1 Trojans' experience could be key COVINGTON, Ind. – The Covington football team enters this season on a positive note. The Trojans lost only five seniors to graduation, so team hopes to build on its many returning players.“We’re a year old and stronger,” said Covington head coach Tra

    August 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Voles set to host Jamboree DANVILLE — For the eighth year, the Vermilion Voles Vintage Base Ball club will invite other clubs in the Midwest to Kennekuk County Park on Saturday for the “Uncle Joe” Cannon Base Ball Jamboree.The event will feature four teams with the Voles, the

    August 15, 2014

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
NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream Raw: Woman Escorted From Ferguson Protests California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Holder Hopes to Bring Calm to Ferguson US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man
NDN Video
2 American Ebola Patients Released From Hospital Joel McHale Interviews Chelsea VIDEO: Goliath Grouper eats shark in one bite US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Reggie Jackson's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Sicilian hilltop homes on sale for one euro Are Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon Breaking Up? Motorcyclist Sticks Landing This 'Breaking Bad' Reunion is the Most Hilarious Thing You'll See All Day! President Obama talks about who James Foley was Nicki Minaj Unleashes Her 'Anaconda' On the World Watch Helicopter Perform Aerial Ballet Can Buckeyes fill Miller's void? Victoria's Secret Models Prove They're in Fighting Shape How Brian Hoyer Stacks Up With Johnny Manziel Taylor Swift Reveals New Album 1989 is Full-On Pop Crews rescue elderly woman trapped inside flooded minivan Man Poses for New Mugshot Photo Wearing Shirt with Old Mugshot Photo On It Disquieting times for Malaysia's 'fish listeners' Caught On Camera: Johnny Manziel Obscene Gesture