PLANO — The 24-team field of the Plano Christmas Classic has officially begun the weeding out process as the first round tip-offs took place Monday.
The No. 15-seeded St. Bede boys basketball team struggled early and couldn’t get out of its funk as it lost to unranked Somonauk 47-41.
St. Bede will play Streator in the consolation bracket at 8 p.m. Thursday.
“We’re in for a buzz saw (Thursday) too, Streator is pretty good,” St. Bede coach Mike Kilmartin said. “I know I’d much rather be playing Burlington Central than be in the loser’s bracket.”
Mendota took advantage of its No. 9-seed by defeating unranked Wilmington 77-42 in the third of Monday’s eight games.
Mendota now joins Ottawa as the only two area teams in the winner’s bracket as it will play No. 8 Seneca at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.
No.1-seeded Ottawa didn’t have a game Monday because the first eight teams received byes. The Pirates will play Forreston — one of the three unseeded teams to win Monday — at 2 p.m. Thursday in their first contest of the tournament.
Also in the tournament, unranked Princeton lost to Plano 65-43. The Tigers next opponent will be Indian Creek, who as the No. 11 seed lost to unseeded Rockford Christian 36-35.
Somonauk 47, St. Bede 41
The Bruins had a 6-4 lead in the early going after making the first two baskets of the game, however, this would be the only lead the Bruins would obtain.
Somonauk out-rebounded St. Bede 34-20, its defense forced the Bruins into tough shots and the Bobcats’ offense was able to feed senior Reece Bode inside.
The Bobcats went on a 10-0 run until junior Bruin Jack Brady hit a free throw with 1.4 seconds left to make the score 14-7 after one quarter.
“As one of our assistant coaches said, ‘We settled for shots they wanted us to take as opposed to what we wanted to take’ and we fell for that,” Kilmartin said.
St. Bede scored seven points in the first quarter and six in the second to trail 20-13 in a low-scoring first half.
The Bruins’ shooters were 0-for-11 from the 3-point arc before sophomore Jarret Olson knocked one down with 3:20 left in the third quarter.
Olson made St. Bede’s only three 3-pointers on 3-of-8 shooting as the team shot 3-of-21.
“We haven’t been shooting 3s (well) but we continue to shoot 3s,” Kilmartin said of his team’s shooting woes. “We were 2-for-25 at Hall (against Bureau Valley and Fieldcrest in the Colmone Classic) and we didn’t make many tonight. That’s eight percent. If we’re going to continue to shoot 3s, we’re going to continue to have conversations after the game like this. It’s not so much what they did — it’s what we didn’t do.
“What’s hard to press upon is when you go 2-for-25 and you won both games. There is a difference between listening and hearing and I think they heard me say that, but they didn’t listen. As a young teenage student-athlete you’re thinking, ‘He’s saying we shouldn’t shoot 3s, we’re 2-for-25 but we won both games.’”
The Bruins (6-4) made rallies to cut the lead to three, 20-17 in the beginning of the third quarter, and four, 45-41 with a minute left in the game, but the Bobcats (5-5) continued to put points on the board with Bode to close the game out.
Bode finished with a double-double of 23 points and 17 rebounds — both game-highs.
“We talked to him at halftime and said ‘We only had two offensive rebounds and he had zero,’ so we kind of put a challenge out there to do a better job on the glass,” Bobcats’ coach Ron Hunt said. “Sometimes we were stagnant against that zone but as the game went on we were more fluid. That comes with moving guys, spreading them out to give him more room to operate in there.”
Olson lead the Bruins with 13 points, while Brady scored 11 points and snagged six steals.
Mendota 77, Wilmington 42
The No. 9-seeded Trojans had little trouble with Wilmington as it jumped out to a 19-6 lead after the first quarter.
Mendota had a 45-16 halftime lead.
Three Trojans scored in double-digits as James Carroll scored a game high 22 points.
Plano 65, Princeton 43
Princeton could not get into the groove of things as the host of the tournament out-scored the Tigers in every quarter of the contest.
The Reapers had a 35-21 halftime lead and had the same success in the second half 31-22.
Garrett Duffin lead the Tigers with eight points and seven rebounds, while Tyler Clark and Zach Hicks finished with seven points.
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6995, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance