By JEFF LAMPE
For The Weekly Post
BRIMFIELD – The Brimfield boys basketball team successfully navigated an emotional week to record two wins before heading into an extended break.
Three days after packing the high school gymnasium for a memorial service for teammate Jacob Look, who died in a tragic hot tub drowning, Brimfield was back in action at home against Stark County.
And instead of a moment of silence in honor of Look , the Indians took part in a moment of loud – with the blessings of the Look family.
“It was about as loud as I’ve ever heard that gym,” Coach Kevin Kreiter said.
Fans had plenty to cheer all night, as Brimfield (5-1) rolled to a 51-25 victory that saw the Indians jump to a 20-9 lead and outscore Stark County 12-0 in the fourth quarter.
“There was so much emotion I was concerned we weren’t going to do all the little things we needed to do,” Kreiter said. “But they just played really well. We just weren’t going to lose that game.”
Oliver Heinz scored 21 points and Jakoby McKown added 9.
The only negative for Brimfield was a sprained ankle suffered by center Caleb Tyre, who missed Friday’s game against Payson-Seymour (4-3), which had been ranked No. 18 in Class 1A by MaxPreps.
Even without the 6-foot-6 Tyre, Brimfield prevailed over Payson, 49-40.
“They got up and down the court better than anybody we’ve faced and we had to adjust to that,” Kreiter said. “I’ve talked quite a bit about getting to the offensive boards. But it got to the point where I had to tell them we’re not going to crash the boards as much as we need to get back.”
The score was knotted at halftime and after the third quarter before Brimfield went on a run in the fourth behind hot shooting from Heinz, who finished with a team-high 19 points. McKown added 11 and Levi Moon scored 10.
“And without Caleb, Frank Kelch really stepped up for us rebounding,” Kreiter said.
Brimfield is off until Jan. 4, when it plays at Elmwood.
Ranked No. 16 in the latest MaxPreps Class 1A poll, the Indians earned the No. 2 seed for the ICAC Tournament, which starts Jan. 10 at Illini Bluffs. Peoria Christian is seeded first, Elmwood fourth and ROWVA-Williamsfield was fifth.
Carson Malek helped end a five-game losing streak and boost R-W to a two-game win streak last week, instead.
After trailing for the entire game at Princeville on Dec. 14, R-W (5-6) got a last-second layup from Malek with 1.4 ticks left to win, 51-50.
“We had the ball down one and I took a timeout. I’ve always kind of believed in that, even though it let’s them get their defense set,” R-W Coach Bob Anderson said. “We just set a little pick and roll on one side for Malek and Graham Wight, hoping they would get a shot.”
The plan worked well, as Wight’s screen allowed Malek to reach the hoop. Malek had 6 of 11 points in the fourth, while Wight tallied 17 and Dylan Tucker added 13 points and four 3-pointers.
“Big win for us. Huge win after losing five in a row,” Anderson said.
The Cougars followed that with a 66-36 win over Annawan at Oneida last Saturday. Malek led with 24 points, Tucker had 17 and Wight scored 13.
“They never did get much going against us,” Anderson said. “The kids played pretty well, probably as good as we’ve played all year.”
R-W was hoping to have started Adam Kohl from COVID quarantine for Tuesday’s game at North Fulton.
After that, R-W gets a long Christmas break before returning to action Jan. 4 at Ridgewood.
The Farmers (8-2) faced one of this year’s Class 1A elite teams on Saturday at the Great Western Shootout and Coach Marty Lozier left the game impressed with opponent Scales Mound – and his own team.
While Farmington lost, 65-54, the Farmers were down just five late in the fourth quarter before Lozier called for an aggressive jump trap to get steals.
Scales Mound was able to navigate through most traps and made free throws down the stretch to widen its lead. Senior-dominated Scales Mound (7-0) also hit 10 of 18 3-pointers in the game, according to Lozier.
“That’s the best team I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching in high school,” Lozier said. “They are pretty impressive. And we were in that game until the end. It was so good for our kids. Both teams knew they had a battle.”
Ethan Evans and Logan Morse scored 14 points apiece to lead Farmington.
Scales Mound is ranked No. 3 in the latest MaxPreps Class 1A poll. MaxPreps had Farmington at No. 25 in Class 2A.
On Dec. 14, the Farmers beat North Fulton, 60-21.
The Farmers are off until Monday, Dec. 27, when they face Illini West at 1 p.m. at the Macomb-Western Holiday Tournament.
Farmington was not seeded in the tournament and faces a possible second-round game against top seed Rockridge on Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 6:30 p.m.
Senior Andrew Marincic led Elmwood (6-5) to a gritty, much-needed win over Havana last Friday, 48-41.
Marincic suffered a sprained ankle in practice last Thursday but battled through pain to score 29. He also tallied 13 of Elmwood’s 15 points in the fourth quarter, including 6-for-7 free-throw shooting.
“Pretty gutty performance from Marincic on an ankle he turned Thursday night in practice,” Coach Josh Fugitt said. “You could tell he was conscious of the way he landed and he took two or three really hard hits in that game and some were probably a byproduct of how he was landing on one foot.”
Even so, Marincic also took two charges in the game and Fugitt credited him for stepping up to help rebound.
“It was one of his better games this year, for sure,” Fugitt said.
Brayden Lehman also drew two charges and Michael Seibert drew one. Havana’s Wandel Campana was called for four offensive fouls and finished with 8 points.
“That probably had a bigger impact on the game than any other factor, that arguably their best player was not in the game for a lot of it,” Fugitt said. “Some of our guys are putting their body on the line and seeing the rewards for that. Hopefully that’s something that continues.”
Elmwood was to face Stark County on Tuesday and then plays Monday, Dec. 27, at 3:30 p.m. vs. Peoria Heights in the Princeville Holiday Tournament. Elmwood is seeded No. 3.
A young, inexperienced Princeville team is learning the importance of finishing games after dropping a third straight contest in the final quarter.
“We’re right in the thick of things, we just can’t quite get over the hump,” Coach Tait Sennett said.
The most recent setback for the Princes (0-4) was a 48-37 decision at Midland (9-0), the top seed in the upcoming Princeville Holiday Tournament.
“We played right with them and we were down one at the end of three and just kind of ran out of gas,” Sennett said. “They hit a couple shots in the fourth quarter and we had to kind of scramble to catch up, and that’s not our game.”
The Princes were outscored 12-2 in the fourth at Midland. Torence Kieser had 12 points and Marcus Daily added 10.
Princeville suffered an even tougher loss on Dec. 14 to ROWVA-Williamsfield on a Carson Malek layup with 1.4 seconds left gave R-W its only lead.
“He got away from one of our defenders on a nice screen and just got to the basket and our help defense was a little late,” Sennett said.
Princeville had led the entire way prior to Malek’s shot.
“At the mask timeout with about 3:30 left we were up 6 points and I said, ‘Don’t turn it over and we’ll be alright,’” Sennett said. “I think we stopped attacking and turned the ball over. When you play timid, that’s what happens. It was a learning experience for us.”
Will Haskell led the Princes with 14 points, Tayshaun Kieser had 9 and Torence Kieser added 8.
No. 4 seed Princeville returns to action Monday, Dec. 27, to face No. 5 Henry-Senachwine at the Princeville Holiday Tournament.
By JEFF LAMPE