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Trojans vault into Colmone finals

SPRING VALLEY — Mendota faced off against Bureau Valley in the third round of the Spring Hall Holiday Colmone Classic Wednesday night. The Storm were able to make it a game for two quarters, but the Trojans built a lead in the third period that Bureau Valley could not overcome. The final score was 61-47 in favor of the Trojans.

“We played one quarter really well. (We) Just didn’t sustain it,” BV coach Jason Marquis said. “We’re looking around for passion. Mendota’s pretty good. We didn’t play well enough to win. We’ve got Stark County on Friday, another good team. We need to execute better. We need to put four quarters together.”

Senior Trae Blumhorst led the Trojans with 20 points. Sophomore Parker Neuhalfen was the Storm’s highest scorer with 16 points.

It was Mendota’s third game in as many nights. The Storm had Tuesday night off. Both teams seemed evenly matched in the beginning. Nerves were getting the better of both squads early on as errant passes and flailing hands caused a few turnovers.

Four minutes in, the game was tied at six. The Storm had an answer for Trojans center Austin O’Sadnick with their zone defense. But, Trojans guard Evan Carroll distributed the ball well, helping forward Blumhorst garner seven points early. The Storm had trouble with the rim leading to an eight-point deficit at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter Bureau Valley fought back. Senior Tommy Johnston racked up 9 points. Storm guard Hunter Klemme added five to the tally. Mendota was able to keep on track with a couple of shots from downtown. At the end of the half, it was 28-27 Trojans.

The second half proved to be a tough one for the Storm. They took an early lead, but it didn’t last more than a few seconds.

About halfway through the third, the Trojans lead was back up to six and Storm coach Jason Marquis called time to try and get his squad focused. It wasn’t enough to slow the steady rhythm of the Trojans play. At the end of three, Mendota had created some separation, going on top 45-33.

Bureau Valley was able to cut that deficit to 10 in the fourth quarter. That is as close as they would get. Mendota kept its steady pace leading by 16 points with less than 40 seconds to go in the game.

“It’s a win. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a win … I knew it was going to be a game. Good team, good coach,” Mendota Coach Jan Thompson said,

When asked whether he thought his team shot well, Thompson said, “Yeah, I would say so. John Gehm is finally starting to get some shots from outside. Trae (Blumhorst) is pretty good. Trae can hit from just about everywhere. Austin (O’Sadnick) didn’t get some of his easy bunnies that he normally gets, but they ran that zone on us most of the night, so that’s a tougher thing to do. They did the same thing against St. Bede, trying to cover up (St. Bede center) Pyszka and they covered up Austin pretty good tonight.”

Gehm finished with six points. O’Sadnick scored four points.

Thompson also said that his team let it loose a little more in the second half, while also shooting better at the charity stripe.

Mendota will face Fieldcrest in Saturday’s championship game at 7:30 p.m. Fieldcrest. the three-time defending champion, beat Hall 70-41 on Friday.

Bureau Valley bounced back with a 50-42 win over Stark County on Friday. The storm will face Hall at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the fifth-place game.

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