Lebanon advances to consolation final after win over Stockton

LDR photo/Alex Boyer
Lebanon sophomore Ethan Christal dribbles the ball up the court during a high school boys' basketball game against the Stockton Tigers on Thursday morning. Lebanon won the contest, 60-55.

By: 
ALEX BOYER (ALEX@LEBANONDAILYRECORD.COM)

SPRINGFIELD — Things didn’t come easy for the Lebanon boys’ basketball team in the consolation round of the Blue and Gold tournament on Thursday morning, but the ‘Jackets pulled off a close win over the Stockton Tigers, 60-55. Stockton came into the game as the No. 8 seed in the blue division, but the Tigers were upset in the first round of the tournament by Reeds Spring.

With the win, LHS advances to face Marshfield in the final round on the consolation side on Friday afternoon.

In three games at the tournament, the ‘Jackets have played in contests all decided by five points.

“I love the opportunities for our guys to grow,” Lebanon head coach Adam Thornhill said. “Our goal is to get better everyday and we want to be the most improved in southwest Missouri by March. These last three games have given us plenty of opportunity to grow and learn.

Lebanon trailed late in the fourth quarter by seven points, but LHS was able to put on an impressive run, outscoring the Tigers 19-7 in the final five minutes of the game.

Thornhill knows that being down seven in the fourth quarter is no easy task to come back from, but praised his teams effort after Lebanon lost big man Dawson Zimdars late in the game due to foul trouble.

“We were down eight against in the fourth quarter against Camdenton too (on Wednesday) and were able to win that game,” Thornhill said about the win. “It says a lot about the mental toughness of our guys. We have a long way to go, but when we do things like we do today it is awesome to think about how much room for growth that we have.”

He mentioned that the ‘Jackets will need to improve on communication as the season progresses.

“We still have key areas to improve on like communicating on defense,” Thornhill said. “Everyone has the ability to communicate … we are still hammering them on that and need to make more free throws.”

Throughout the entire contest, the Tigers ran a matchup 2-3 zone that could give lots of team fits, but LHS was able to move the ball quickly and find the open man most of the game.

“It gave us some problems at times, but we run some stuff in our zone offense that puts guys in particular situations,” Thornhill said. “Tonight we ran the zone offense that Duke runs that is called ‘gaps’ and puts your guards in spacing and teaches them how to attack the zone.”

Sophomores Ethan Christal and Jordan Lewis scored a team-high 15 points each in the win.

“When Ethan brings it that gives us another guy who teams have to worry about,” Thornhill said. “The consistency will come with him and I was proud of the way he stepped up tonight.

“You have to give Jordan a lot of credit on the defensive end. Jordan did a great job of shutting their best player down and you have to give him a lot of credit for that.”

Lebanon and Marshfield will play tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Hammons Student Center on the campus of Missouri State University.

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