SPRING VALLEY — The Bureau Valley Storm kept pace with the defending Colmone Classic tournament champion Mendota Trojans for three quarters during second night action of the five-day tournament. They were unable, however, to find a way to get past the Trojans as they failed to execute during the fourth quarter.
The Trojans would build an 11-point lead down the stretch to take a 66-55 victory Tuesday at Hall High School in Spring Valley.
Mendota improved to 2-0 atop the White Pool standings.
Bureau Valley kept themselves in it early with big plays from junior forward Tommy Johnston, who scored 10 straight BV points.
BV was led by junior guard Parker Neuhalfen with a 20-point performance followed by Johnston who added 17 for the Storm.
“There were stretches where I thought we did the things that we talk about and there were stretches where we executed, in the fourth quarter we were down seven and cut it (the score) to even but it wasn’t enough,” said Bureau Valley coach Jason Marquis. “We just didn’t execute enough the entire game especially after the three minute mark (of the fourth) to get it done.”
Johnston made back-to-back three point plays with just under the 2:40 mark in the first as he was fouled twice in the paint. He calmly hit both and one opportunities making the score 16-9.
BV gave up a basket with just under a minute to play in the first quarter taking a 16-11 lead into the second.
The Storm matched this seven-point lead once more in the second quarter but would never lead by more than that for the entire night.
Each team traded buckets and leads for the next quarter and a half before the Trojans eventually seized a lead midway through the third and wouldn’t trail again for the rest of the contest.
“I thought our kids’ effort was strong,” said Marquis, “Unfortunately when your execution doesn’t match the effort you end up in the wrong column.”
Big plays wouldn’t be enough to keep the Storm ahead as the Trojans eventually closed the seven-point gap on strong play from junior Mendota guard James Carroll. He scored 19 of his game high 29 points in the second and third quarters.
Mendota rode his strong play cutting the BV lead and eventually taking control of the game midway through the third quarter when Carroll drove the lane, drew a foul and sank the and-one to give the Trojans a 37-34.
Mendota wouldn’t trail for the remainder of the game as they would slowly build on their lead in the fourth quarter as BV got into foul trouble and sent the Trojans to the charity stripe 15 times in the fourth quarter.
“At some points they kind of did what they wanted to and we just didn’t do enough to stop it,” said Marquis.
• The Hall junior varsity Demons gave the St. Bede Academy Bruins varsity squad more of a game than was expected as they barely edged the underclassmen with a 57-46 victory Tuesday.
The Hall JV couldn’t keep pace with a balanced St. Bede offensive attack by a trio of speedy junior guards in Jack Brady, Sam Halm and Jarrett Olson.
Olson led the way for the Bruins with 18 points while Brady and Halm both added 14.
“We have to play harder and take better shots, we get to much in love with the three-point shot, we need to accept the fact that we can get a better shot instead of shooting a 3,” said St. Bede Academy coach Mike Kilmartin, “We could make better choices.”
Leading the way for the Demons was sophomore guard Drew Pullam who scored a game-high 18 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter.
• Notes: Fieldcrest moved to 2-0 atop the Red Pool with a 68-31 win over Quest Academy of Peoria. On Wednesday, St. Bede beat Bureau Valley 61-54 while Hall downed Stark County 63-39 and Mendota topped the Hall JV 74-41. Action resumes Friday at Red Devil Gymnasium.