Varsity basketball picks up second win

To pick up their second win of season St. Joseph-Ogden had time on their side during their second game of pool play at 2nd Annual Toyota of Danville Classic.

In the comfy confines of their home court, the Spartans held Norte Dame de LaSalatte to just five points for nearly a nine minute in a stretch to win 48-36 on Wednesday.

Payton Cain takes a shot for the Spartans
Spartans' Payton Cain goes up for a shot against LaSalette during his team's second game at the Toyota of Danville Classic on Wednesday. Cain finished the contest with a team-high 10 points. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
Payton Cain led SJO in scoring with ten points. The senior, who also booked a team-high seven rebounds, wasn't satisfied.

"We've got a lot of work to do on our offense," Cain said. While it is only the second game of the season for the Spartans, he made it clear that team needs to solidify their identity to be successful. "We've got to find our dignity."

With 31 seconds left in the second quarter, LaSalette's Steven Deister hit a free throw to take a small nibble out of St. Joseph-Ogden's 21-14 lead. For nearly the next 10 minutes the Lions mustered just five points as the Spartans widen the scoring gap by 20 points at 39-19 with just 6:51 to the final buzzer.

Thanks to a strong defensive effort, SJO followed up a 6-0 run at the start the second frame with 12 unanswered points before the Lions' Joseph McCall hit two free throws to put the score at 39-21.

"On the defensive end we've done a great job getting stops," said Cain, who had 10 steals and used them to tack points on the scoreboard for the host team. "If we stop teams, our offensive will come up and finish out the game strong."

Once again, and it looks to be a regular theme this season, the Spartans enjoyed a nice balance of scoring from starters and the bench. All four classes did their part to secure the win.

Frosh starter Ty Pence was the second leading scorer with eight points. He went 4-for-4 from the free throw line - all of them in the second quarter - and had four rebounds.

Drew Coursey tumbles across the floor
Spectators react as SJO's Drew Coursey rolls across the floor after diving for a loose ball during first half action. Coursey, who played linebacker during the football season, was unfazed and quickly picked up by teammates moments later. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
Andrew Beyers came off the bench to score five points against the Lions. The sophomore shot 50% from the line making his first one in the first half of the game and missing his second half attempt.

Junior Lukas Hutcherson rotated into the fray during the fourth quarter to finish with a trey for the Spartans while Cain and the class of 2020, who combined for 22 more points, did the heavy lifting.

LaSalette's offensive effort was bouyed by David Carlisle. The senior was the only player with double figures, thanks to three three-pointers, capping the evening with 14 points. He was responsible for five of his team's 24 boards.

The Lions' senior was aided by Joseph McCall with eight points. Joseph Martin and Thomas Brauner added another five points apiece.

"They were pretty tough," said Spartans' Drew Coursey. While the three-sport athlete's stats were meager with three points and a rebound, his aggressive presence on the floor created turnover opportunities. "They were physical dudes. They played hard."

Tonight, St. Joseph-Ogden squares off against last year's Classic champions Cissna Park tonight at 8pm. SJO goes into the contest with the hopes of continuing their unblemished record and avenging the 66-37 loss to the Timberwolves, who were also the Class 1A state runner-up back in March.

Here is tonight's Toyota of Danville Classic schedule:

Game 7: La Salette vs. Schlarman, 5 p.m.
Game 8: Georgetown-Ridge Farm vs. Watseka, 6:30 p.m.
Game 9: St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Cissna Park, 8 p.m.

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