There’s sometimes an advantage catching a team early in a basketball season when it’s coming off a long football season.
However, when both teams have enjoyed such success, the hoops meeting is often decided by a player who didn’t play football and spent his fall getting ready for the hardcourt.
That’s where Andrew May comes in.
The Fieldcrest junior poured in 25 points to pace Fieldcrest to a 60-42 victory over Princeton Saturday in their opening game at the 46th annual Colmone Classic at Hall High School.
In the next game, the cold-shooting Hall Red Devils received a 25-point performance from Trez Rybarczyk, but had to fight to hold off pesky Putnam County for a 58-48 win.
Earlier Saturday, Kewanee routed St. Bede 85-35, while Rock Falls beat Bureau Valley 72-39.
Monday’s games saw Bureau Valley fall to Pontiac 76-44 while Plano beat Putnam County 58-52.
Pool plays continues Wednesday with the crossover rounds set for Thursday and Friday.
Fieldcrest 60, Princeton 42
The energetic May netted nine points in the first period, his second 3-pointer opening up a 10-2 Knights lead against the cold-shooting Tigers (1-for-11). He then added 10 in the second stanza that, paired with seven PHS turnovers in the quarter, extended that margin to 31-15 at the half.
“Andrew had a ‘Player-of-the-Week’ kind of night,” Fieldcrest coach Matt Winkler said. “That’s two big games for him coming off the bench. He gave us a great spark last night shooting the ball, playing great defense, playing smart and again tonight. He just looks focused and really determined to play.”
Princeton found itself in the second half, using seven Cole Adams points and six from Brayden DeBates to cut the deficit to a dozen.
However, Fieldcrest’s Jaxon Cusac-McKay shook off his third foul to net eight of his 16 points in the period to help keep the Tigers at bay.
We knew coming in that they were going to be uptempo. They’re a good team and they’re a basketball school, and we just don’t have our basketball legs yet,” Princeton coach Jason Smith said. “That shouldn’t be an excuse because they probably don’t have their legs under them either, but that led to us missing a few bunnies early on, and we panicked after that. We rushed some bad shots and it took us a half to collect ourselves.
“In the third quarter, we came out well, more the way we’re capable of playing, but once you get down double figures to a team like that, it’s hard to come back. I was proud of the way the kids responded.”
Princeton played Mendota Tuesday night. Visit www.bcrnews.com for results.
Hall 58, Putnam County 48
In Saturday’s finale, the perimeter-centered Red Devils connected on just 3-of-11 from behind the arc in the first period, but got seven points from Rybarczyk, six second-chance points and turned the ball over only once to grab a 19-11 lead.
The Hall junior added nine more points in the second, including a putback and cashing in a turnover around a pair of Bryan Fuentes free throws to widen the gap to 33-19 at the break. For the night, the Devils sank just 7-of-33 tries from far outside.
“We talked about it after and I had a little tirade during the game that shooting 20 percent from the 3-point line is not good,” Hall coach Mike Filippini said. “We have to figure out something there, obviously, because the game’s a lot different if we made just five more 3s … But give our kids a ton of credit because we didn’t have a good shooting night, ibut we had 20 offensive rebounds. That’s the fifth game in a row that we’ve outrebounded the other team and that was basically the difference in the game.
“Putnam County never gave up and they kept coming at us, but even though the shots weren’t going down we found a way to score enough to win the game.”
Putnam County was a new team in the third period, with Luke Pederson netting nine of his 18 points and Stephen Mecagni adding eight points and six rebounds – six of those points off offensive boards – to keep the Panthers in it.
But Hall’s Payton Plym seemingly countered every surge with eight points of his own and Hall’s advantage never dipped under 12 points the rest of the way.
“We knew there’d be second-chance points, offensive rebounds that we had to stop and in the end, that’s what bit us,” said PC coach Harold Fay. “There were a few times we were flat-footed under the basket and they would come flying in, running in to get the rebounds, jumping on the run at it while we were standing there waiting for the ball. We did OK on the boards overall, but we gave up too many on their offensive end.
“Still, we competed and I’m glad of that. All of the coaches have been trying to get everyone to play harder, whether we’re up or down, no matter what the score is, to go out there and compete and don’t stop. … and we didn’t stop tonight.”
Kewanee 85, St. Bede 35
Paul Hart scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Bruins.
Rock Falls 72, Bureau Valley 39
Adam Johnson and Dalton Dean had seven points each for the Storm.
Pontiac 76, Bureau Valley 44
Dean came back with 16 points while Johnson added 10 for the Storm (2-7). BV will meet Putnam County at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in crossover play.