Due to weather related issues, in some areas there may be delayed deliveries of your Monday issue of the NewsTribune.
If road conditions are severe enough, your delivery person may not be able to deliver your NewsTribune at all on Monday.
In this case, your Monday edition will be delivered with your Tuesday newspaper.
We ask you to be understanding for the safety of our carriers.
MENDOTA — Despite a two-point lead at intermission, Mendota boys basketball coach Jan Thompson was not thrilled with his squad’s performance against Princeton and let the team know during his halftime address.
The Trojans responded.
Mendota outscored the Tigers 15-6 in the third quarter to open up a double-digit lead and held on in the fourth for a 60-51 non-conference win Friday night.
“Coach had a good halftime speech, and after that we rebounded better and just hustled and played a lot better in the second half,” said MHS sophomore point guard James Carroll, who led all scorers with 23 points and added eight steals on defense. Carroll converted a three-point play on the Trojans’ first possession of the second half to give MHS a 32-27 lead.
Mendota center Austin O’Sadnick jumped in front of a pass for a steal on the ensuing PHS possession, and the 6-foot-7 280-pound senior big man then showed off his foot speed, racing coast-to-coast to deposit a layup and give MHS a seven-point lead.
“That pumped us up a bit,” Carroll said. “It was awesome. I’ve never seen him run that fast.”
The Trojans were looking to force turnovers in the second half.
“That was the plan because coach said we had to pressure them at the ball and just be aggressive in the passing lanes. We were going for steals to get them to turn over the ball,” said Carroll, who turned another pair of third-quarter steals into layups to help give Mendota a 44-33 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
The Tigers managed to claw back in the final frame as they used a 3-pointer from senior guard Aaron Ray, a drive and bucket from senior forward Josh Kieffer and a pair of free throws from senior center Cole Evenson to pull within six at 51-45 with 4:08 left.
But Mendota (4-1) used a basket in the paint from O’Sadnick and 6-of-7 free throw shooting down the stretch — including 4-of-5 from senior guard Evan Carroll — to close out the victory.
“I was not happy at halftime, I’ll be completely honest. When we went in to halftime, I had a pretty stern conversation with them and they took it to heart. They came out in the second half and decided that defense needed to be a focus,” said Thompson, whose Trojans forced 18 turnovers in the contest.
O’Sadnick finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in the win, Evan Carroll added nine points and Mark Prescott had eight.
Cole Evenson had a team-best 16 points and 14 rebounds for PHS (3-3). Kieffer added 11 points and six rebounds.
“We didn’t make many shots and I don’t think our defense was real good (in the third quarter), and we put them at the free throw line too often. They shot a ton of free throws (18-for-30). … That was a big key in the game,” PHS coach Jesse Brandt said.
“The third quarter has been bad for us all year long and it continued tonight, so we’re going to have to figure something else to do at halftime,” Brand added. “We only scored two against Rock Falls in the third quarter. Even Saturday, when we won against Dixon, they outscored us by 10 points or so.”
Note: Princeton won the sophomore contest 52-41.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
Login to your account:
If you'd like to comment on this article, please log in or click here to subscribe.