Hearts Build Early Lead, Hang On at Finish at Salem Tourney

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Published on January 17 2013 3:13 am
Last Updated on January 17 2013 2:22 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham Hearts built a big early lead and then hung on at the end to post a 42-36 win over the Mt. Vernon Rams at the Salem Invitational Tournament Wednesday night.  The game was heard on 979XFM and www.979xfm.com.

Effingham used its size advantage to pound the ball inside early and built a 16-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.  Mt. Vernon made some changes to counteract the inside game and outscored the Hearts 14-9 in the second period to move within 25-19 at halftime.  Both teams struggled in the third quarter, Effingham outscoring Mt. Vernon 6-5 in the period to hold a 31-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Mt. Vernon kept hanging around well into the final period, continually creeping closer, finally moving to within 38-36 with 21 seconds left.  That's when the Hearts finally got some chances at the foul line for the first time in the contest and hit five of six to widen the margin and propel the Hearts to the six-point win.

Effingham shot the ball well, making 18 of 33 from the field for 55%, but made just 10 shots in the final three quarters after making eight in the first quarter.  The Hearts took just 11 shots in the second half.

Effingham played a good floor game, turning the ball over just eight times, and grabbed 14 rebounds while making one of two three-point tries.

Mt. Vernon made 15 of 34 shots for 44% and made just one foul shot in only three tries.  The Rams turned the ball over 13 times, but only three times in the second half, and pulled down 13 rebounds while making five of 12 three-point shots.

Hunter Keith, who played the entire game for the Hearts, led all scorers with 12 points.  Leighton Lark scored nine, Clark Williamson eight, Jake Stombaugh six, Josh Stombaugh three and Alex Carie and Tim Gardewine two each.

Michael Feezer led Mt. Vernon with 10 points.

The Hearts improved to 11-4 on the season and will play Edwardsville in the winner bracket semi-final game Friday at 7pm.  Edwardsville won easily over Mattoon in the other contest Wednesday night, 72-38.  We'll have the Friday game on 979XFM and www.979xfm.com. 

Tonight at the Salem Tournament, Marion will play Triad at 7pm and Salem plays Centralia at 8:30pm.