The Mendota and Fieldcrest boys basketball teams each took another step Tuesday toward a rematch in the Colmone Classic championship game.
The Trojans held off Bureau Valley for a 66-55 victory to move to 2-0 in the White Pool, while the Knights routed Quest Academy 68-31 to improve to 2-0 in the Red Pool.
The only team standing in the way of defending champion Mendota is the Hall JV team at 6:30 tonight.
The Hall JV team lost 57-46 to St. Bede on Tuesday and were within single digits late in the fourth quarter.
“We can’t overlook Hall’s JV team,” Mendota coach Jan Thompson said. “That’s not a normal JV team. They took St. Bede right down to the wire. They played them tough. It sure would be sad to come out and not be prepared for them. We have to look at the game (today), but it’d be nice to get back to the title game. It’s a goal of our team to get back there this year.”
Fieldcrest will face Hall, which is 1-0 in pool play, at 8 p.m. Friday.
“Hall’s going to be a tough game,” Fieldcrest coach Matt Winkler said. “They’re always tough on their home floor. They have a lot of weapons. They bring a lot of pressure to you. We just have to handle the ball much better. We’ll work on press offense the next couple practices. We have to make them pay for pressing, so we have to score.”
Mendota 66, Bureau Valley 55
The Trojans scored the final four points of the first half to take a 28-27 lead at intermission, and Thompson encouraged his team to keep it up in the second half.
“We attacked the rim and I thought our defensive pressure was better,” Thompson said of Mendota’s late run in the first half. “We got a couple turnovers and I thought our intensity picked up for a short period of time. That’s what we talked about with the guys at halftime. We told them they did it for a spurt, but they have to do it for the entire game.”
Mendota responded led by James Carroll, who scored 10 of his game-high 29 points in the third quarter to help the Trojans enter the final eight minutes up 46-43.
The Trojans (7-2) led throughout the fourth quarter except for a 33-second stretch when the game was tied.
“I’m real proud of the kids,” Thompson said. “I thought the second half we played much better. I went into the locker room and I was pretty upset with the guys. I thought we were getting outhustled and outworked by Bureau Valley.
“The kids really took it to heart. They listened at halftime and I think they all agreed about what we had to do. We came out in the second half and I just thought we played our way again.”
The Storm (6-3) tied the game at 53-53 on a three-point play by Ryan Young with 4:24 left, but BV didn’t score again until a basket by Tommy Johnston with 22 seconds left. Mendota outscore the Storm 13-2 in the final 4:24.
“I thought our energy level was low (late in the game) considering the way we had clawed and fought to get back into the game,” BV coach Jason Marquis said. “We let a timeout (by Mendota with 4:14 left) bring us down from an emotional high. … When all is said and done, they made the plays.”
Parker Neuhalfen scored 20 points to lead BV, while Johnston added 17 points and nine rebounds.
Fieldcrest 68, Quest 31
After the Knights fell behind 2-1 with 6:50 left in the first quarter, Fieldcrest turned it on and closed the first quarter on a 21-1 run.
“I thought we played with some really good energy,” Winkler said. “We played well and shot the ball well. We’re getting better. The team really communicated well on the floor. I saw a lot of positives tonight.”
Fieldcrest’s pressure continued to hamper Quest’s offense and the Knights extended their lead to 35-5 with 3:20 left in the first half and to 40-8 by halftime.
“I thought we talked well, switched men well, called out screens and didn’t give up any layups,” Winkler said. “That was a big thing.”
Matthew Modro led the Knights (3-3) with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Drew Barth added 13 points.
St. Bede 66, Hall JV 55
Three Bruins scored in double figures as they held off the Hall JV team to earn their first victory of the tournament.
Jarret Olson led St. Bede with 17 points, while Jack Brady and Sam Halm scored 14 points each.
The Bruins led 11-10 after the first quarter, but outscored Hall 16-5 in the second quarter to take a 27-15 halftime lead.
However, the Red Demons rallied within single digits late in the fourth quarter before St. Bede held them off by hitting 13-of-16 free throws in the final eight minutes.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.