Hearts Win a Squeaker at Salem

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Published on January 23 2014 1:10 pm
Last Updated on January 23 2014 1:25 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

In a nip-and-tuck contest, the Effingham Hearts edged the Marion Wildcats 48-47 in boys basketball at the Salem Invitational Tournament Wednesday night.  The contest was heard on 979XFM and www.979xfm.com.

Neither team led by more than six points in the contest and after Marion took a six-point lead, Effingham rattled off the next seven points to make the contest close again.

The Hearts got out of the gate well, leading 8-4 before Marion pulled ahead 14-13 after one quarter. Effingham outpointed Marion 11-10 in the second quarter to tie the game at 24-24 at halftime. Marion outscored the Hearts 11-10 in the third quarter to lead 35-34.

(KEVIN DAUGHERTY)

The Wildcats took their six-point lead, 40-34, early in the final period, but junior Kevin Daugherty hit a huge three-point shot to cut the deficit to 40-37.  Effingham got a bucket and a foul shot to tie the game 40-40.  The Hearts got a big steal and two clutch baskets from defensive specialist Phil Knight down the stretch to help key the win.

(PHIL KNIGHT)

Effingham finally took a 48-44 win with three seconds left.  Marion got the ball across the timeline and called time with two seconds left.  After the inbound, Moe Jackson drained a three-pointer at the buzzer for Marion, but the Hearts wisely did not foul and escaped with the one-point victory.

Effingham hit half its shots from the field, making 17 of 34 and also made nine of 12 foul shots. The Hearts were plagued by turnovers in the first half, committing eight, but turned it over just four times in the third quarter and just once in the fourth period.  Effingham grabbed 20 rebounds and made five of eight three-point shots.

Marion shots 49% from the field and made seven of nine foul shots.  The Wildcats only turned the ball over 10 times, pulled down 17 rebounds and made four of 14 three-point tries.

Daugherty was key to the Effingham win, coming off the bench to lead the Hearts with 14 points including three three-point baskets.  Kennan Mahaffey scored nine points, Leighton Lark eight, Isaac Foreman six, Phil Knight five, Matt Wohltman four, and Braydon Bone two.

Effingham improved to 10-3 on the season and moved into the championship semifinal game Friday at 7pm against Centralia.  Centralia defeated Mattoon 66-39 in the opener Wednesday.  The game will be heard on 979XFM and www.979xfm.com.

Tonight at Salem: Edwardsville vs. Lovejoy at 7pm and Mt. Vernon vs. Salem at 8:30pm.  The tournament finals will be played on Saturday.