Spartans continue early season steamroll with win #6

Toyota of Danville MVP Tanner Jacob goes up for a shot during the Spartans' title game against Oakwood. The senior scored 16 points in SJO's first conference win over Central Catholic Saturday afternoon on the road.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

BLOOMINGTON - Coming off a huge overtime win over Normal West on Tuesday, the St. Joseph-Ogden basketball team was back in Blo-No to face Illini Prairie rival Central Catholic on Saturday. Like their earlier visit to the other downstate twin city, the Spartans returned home victorious after defeating the Saints 63-54.

Despite a 41% shooting effort against Central Catholic's 95%, SJO proved the adage 'less is better' doesn't necessarily win basketball games.

Tanner Jacob led the Spartans with 16 points. Junior Tanner Siems also finished in double figures with 13 points. Guards Coy Taylor and Logan Smith rounded out the top four scorers with eight points each.

The foursome fired 43 of St. Joseph-Ogden's 54 shots at the rim, draining 18 of the 22 that resulted in points.

Senior Luke Landrus dominated the boards with nine rebounds and led the Spartans with three steals. Smith, also a senior, was credited with five rebounds and seven assists.

SJO heads back to Bloomington-Normal as the #3-seed in the Small School Division State Farm Classic. Jacob and the Spartans appear to be firing on all cylinders and looking like a good bet for a repeat of last year's championship run. With four contests to play before their tournament opener against Ead Dubuque two days after Christmas, the currently undefeated Spartans have a brutal four-game schedule ahead of them.

On Tuesday, the team goes head-to-head with Danville over in the 'Ville, who hopes to avenge last year's 66-53 loss behind Ty Pence's 35-point show-stopper. The Vikings have taken losses this season to Centennial, Peoria, Lincoln, and Belleville West. Their three wins have been over smaller size schools, including Mahomet-Seymour, Rantoul, and Ogden International.

The Main Gym should be packed to the rafters on Friday when St. Joseph-Ogden hosts Normal University. Like the Spartans, the Pioneers have already beat Central Catholic and Normal West and will have vengeance on their minds as well after last year's loss to SJO at the State Farm Classic.

With four days to recover, Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin be in the house. Then, Friday, the St. Joseph-Ogden basketball team is back on a bus and heading to the den of the Beecher Bobcats, who are 8-0, 4-0 in the River Valley Conference.

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