Titans earn spot in LPC quarters

By Tim Hendershot sportsfan122774@yahoo.com
Posted 1/28/20

HUME — The Tri-County Titans boys basketball team couldn’t have picked a better game to end a four-game losing streak.

The Titans rained three on Blue Ridge to take a 73-52 win in the …

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Titans earn spot in LPC quarters

Posted

HUME — The Tri-County Titans boys basketball team couldn’t have picked a better game to end a four-game losing streak.

The Titans rained three on Blue Ridge to take a 73-52 win in the first round of the Lincoln Prairie Conference (LPC) tourney Friday at Shiloh High School.

It had been a rough start to the 2020 calendar year for the Tri-County Titans boys team.

Inconsistency led the Titans to losing their first three games in Lincoln Prairie Conference play. In the midst of the four game losing streak, the Titans were hoping to right the ship. 

The one bright spot for TCT was that the Titans were given the number seven seed and were able to host their opening round game at Shiloh, facing the number 10 seed Blue Ridge Knights. 

The two teams were to have played last Friday in Farmer City, but a winter storm forced the game to be postponed until Feb. 17.  With a spot in the quarterfinals and a match-up against the number two seed ALAH Knights on the line, the stakes in this contest couldn’t have been any higher.

The Titans finally got their groove back at the right time.

Tri-County used a strong night from behind the three point arc to pull away from a slim first quarter lead to advance in tournament play with a 73-52 win.

The opening eight minutes were tight as the two teams got solid play from Zach Stephens scoring six points and Jaton Shaffer adding four as Blue Ridge tallied 16 points. 

Meanwhile, the Titans used a hot start from Cole McClain who hit three shots from behind the arc scoring 11 of the Titans 17 points to give the hosts a slim one point lead at 17-16 at the end of the first eight minutes.

In the second querter, Titans went to their veteran presence as Mitch Pollock got open looks on the inside notching six points awhile CJ Eakle got into a rhythm hitting two threes as part of his eight points.

The two Titan players combined for 14 of Tri-County’s 15 points in the quarter. 

The Knights, meanwhile, saw ttheir shooting go cold as they hit only four shots.Blue Ridge was able to keep it close as Stephens scored four of the 11 Blue Ridge points, including a twisting lay up at the end of the quarter to make the score 32-27 heading into the halftime break.

In the third quarter,  the Titan offense kicked into overdrive as the three point ball kept falling. TCT hit  four shots from behind the arc, two each by McClain and Pollock, as part

18 point barrage with Pollock scoring eight and McClain adding six.

The Knights continued to go back to Stephens in an attempt to get back within striking distance as he scored nine of the 13 Blue Ridge points. 

Tri-County held a 50-40 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

In the fourth quartwr, the Titans kept their foot on the accelerator, getting a combination of good passing, open shots and solid free throw shooting.

The Titans went 9 of 13 from the charity stripe along with six buckets as TCT scored 23 points in the fourth quarter. 

Eakle finished off his bounce back night scoring seven of those 23 points. 

The barrage was just too much for the Knights to handle as Blue Ridge hit five shots and two free throws for 12 points sealing the 21- point Titan win.

Tri-County went 25 of 64 for 39.1 percent and 12 of 21 from the line for 57.1 percent.  The Titans hit 11 of 22 three point shots for 50 percent. 

Three Titan players hit double figures with Cole McClain finishing with 20 points while CJ Eakle added 19 off the bench and Mitch Pollock had 18.  The Titans did a great job handling the basketball committing only eight turnovers.

Blue Ridge went 21 of 64 for 32.8 percent and 7 of 15 from the foul line.