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The Hall boys basketball team shot lights out in the first half against Peoria Christian on Friday and held on in the second half for a 64-63 Tri-County Conference victory at Red Devil Gymnasium in Spring Valley.
Hall coach Mike Filippini said the Red Devils are not that good of a zone defense team, but the Red Devils switched to zone with the game on the line.
“It does sound a bit strange when you say it,” Filippini said laughing. “But in the timeout, coach (Tom) Keegan said, ‘Hey, maybe we should make the switch and see if it throws them off,’ and it really did. Peoria Christian had a man-to-man play called and it took them a few seconds to kind of take in what we were doing and the shot was off a bit and the stick back attempt rattled around and fell off and we came away with the win.”
The defensive switch allowed the Red Devils to hang on for the win.
Senior Brett Fanning had given Hall the lead with a 3-pointer to make it 64-61. The Chargers then made it a one-point game with less than a minute left.
Hall spread the ball around in an effort to keep it away from Peoria Christian, but Fanning lost control and the Chargers grabbed the loose ball.
After a timeout, Rick Carter got the ball near the half-court line and the entire Peoria Christian team looked surprised by Hall’s zone defense.
Carter finally started his dribble and pulled up at the top of the arc, but missed the mark.
In the scramble, the Chargers managed another shot, but it fell short to give the Red Devils the victory.
“Man, it seemed like that rebound shot was in the air for an eternity,” Filippini said. “But these kids played a great first half which we had guys like Erick Fuentes and Zach Urbanski hitting 3s, and that’s the kind of thing we need to win games. We were awful at Seneca and I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t get invited back because of it, but we had a good week of practice and it showed tonight. This is a much better team than we showed last week.”
In the first quarter, Fanning was hot, hitting for nine of the Red Devils’ first 12 points.
PC’s Kourion Mack and Evan Showgo drained long-range 3-pointers to keep the game close with Hall leading 19-17 heading into the second quarter.
In the next eight minutes, the Red Devils continued their strong shooting.
Austin Schmitt beat everyone up the court for a layup to make it a 24-19 Hall lead. Moments later, Fanning hit a 3-pointer and Fuentes followed with a basket for an eight-point lead.
Then, within less than 30 seconds, the two teams traded long range shots on three consecutive plays.
Matt Boucher then got the ball with time running out in the first half and connected for a 39-27 halftime lead for the Red Devils.
The Chargers were on fire to start the second half.
Brandon Stapleton hit two 3-pointers to start and Carter hit an old-fashioned three-point play and PC capitalized on three Red Devil turnovers to make it a 54-47 contest.
“We told the kids at halftime, ‘This is a very good shooting team,’” Filippini said. “We knew they would get hot and they did. We knew we just had to keep our composure, and I think the kids did a good job responding to their run.”
Carter scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter and trimmed Hall’s lead to 54-53 heading into the final quarter.
Miguel Villarreal had a nice up-and-under move for a three-point Hall lead.
The Chargers then went to the foul line where they missed the shot, but Carter was there for the stick back which tied the game at 57-57 before Hall pulled out the win 64-63.
Fanning led the Red Devils in scoring with 22 points followed by Schmitt with 10 and Villarreal with eight.
Carter led all scorers with 24 and Stapleton added 12.
Hall returns to action tonight when it plays host to Bureau Valley with the varsity game tipping off at 7 p.m.