Lebanon wins fourth straight game, defeating Father Tolton On Thursday

Photo courtesy of Marc Fisher (Creation Services)
The Lebanon High School boys’ basketball team won their fourth straight game on Thursday night, defeating the Father Tolton Trail Blazers 54-47 in the first round of the Houlihan’s Invitational held at Springfield Catholic High School.


There is probably a good chance that there hasn’t been a high school basketball team in the area who has overcome more adversity in the past two weeks than the Lebanon High School boys’ basketball team has.

After playing four games in the Blue and Gold tournament that were all decided by five points or less, including a game against Camdenton that saw LHS trailing by eight points late in the fourth quarter, the ‘Jackets sparked another comeback in the first round of the Houlihan’s Invitational to defeat the Father Tolton Trail Blazers, 54-47 on Thursday night at Springfield Catholic High School.

A controversial buzzer beater was called good for the Trail Blazers heading into halftime, Lebanon (6-5) trailed 24-19 until a big third quarter by Tolton saw the ‘Jackets facing a 13-point deficit with little time to play in the third quarter.

The ‘Jackets got a three-point make from sophomore Quenton Shelton and a pair of free throws from sophomore Kolby Dorris to cut the lead to eight points heading into the final quarter before Shelton took over the game.

Junior Dawson Zimdars started off the fourth quarter with a steal, and a layup to get the lead down to six points right out of the gate and Shelton went on a 10-0 run by himself to pull the ‘Jackets ahead 40-36 with 5:50 to play in the game. He would add 16 points in the quarter, giving him a game-high 23 points after scoring just two in the first half.

Lebanon head coach Adam Thornhill was proud of the way his team battled back.

“We talked about heading into the fourth quarter that we have been in the situation before,” Thornhill said about the comeback win. “There were times throughout the game that I felt like we were playing a little bit intimidated and a little soft, but that fourth quarter kind of blew up.

“I am glad Quenton Shelton is on our team, and he had a big game for us late, but as a team, we did some things well just like we have been doing recently.”

Thornhill mentioned coming into this game that this was a contest that looked like it could have gotten out of hand or fallen apart at times, but his team fought through adversity.

“A lot of it comes down to us needing to be just a little more aggressive,” he said. “Tolton does a great job of being aggressive and gambling a little bit. We never made them pay for their costly mistakes, and that is something we need to do a lot better job of as the season goes on.”

One thing that can’t be overlooked for Lebanon was the ability for their big men to hit free throws throughout the game. The ‘Jackets’ post players went a combined 10-13 from the charity stripe, including big free throws from Zimdars late in the game, who served as the ‘Jackets primary free throw shooter down the stretch.

“He (Dawson) loves being in the open court with the ball in his hands,” Thornhill said. “It is a little scary, and I know as a defender you like to see the other teams big guy handling the ball behind half court, but he had some clutch free throws down the stretch. Dawson was big for us there.”

At halftime, Thornhill said he told Shelton that he needed to be more aggressive in the second half.

“I have had a lot more intelligent with the team at halftimes than the one I had (on Thursday),” Thornhill said about what he told his team at halftime. “I told Quenton that he needed to put the ball in the basket for us, and it wasn’t like they were limiting his touches. We just need Quenton Shelton to be Quenton Shelton for us sometimes.”

Tolton features a handful of talented players, including Coban Porter, the brother of Mizzou basketball standouts Michael Porter Jr. and Jontaty Porter, and Chase Martin, son of Missouri head basketball coach Cuonzo Martin.

Porter and Martin combined for just four points on Thursday night.

Despite playing four games in four days last week, Thornhill said his guys are up to the task of another tournament this week.

“We were playing so well there in the Blue and Gold that you hated to take a couple of days off,” Thornhill said about the team's stamina. “The basketball team doesn’t get a break like everyone else does on Christmas and the holidays, so we were working every day leading up to the Blue and Gold, and then we took three days off so we could give our guys to spend some time with the family and to rest a little bit.”

Lebanon will play Rogersville tonight in the semifinal matchup of the invitational starting at 7:30 p.m. at Catholic High School. The Wildcats are coming off a third-place finish at the Blue and Gold tournament and defeated Notre Dame in the first round on Thursday night.


High school boys’ basketball
on Thursday, at Catholic High School


LHS – 8 11 9 26 – 54

FTHS – 9 15 12 11 – 47

LHS – Ethan Christal 2, Brady Hays 5, Quenton Shelton 23, Dawson Zimdars 10, Jordan Lewis 8, Kolby Dorris 4, Jacob Durbin 2.

FTHS – Isaiah Johnson 2, Jonny Berndt 2, Coban Porter 2, Aidan Ogle 3, Lael Haile 12, Beau Washer 17, Matt Boyer 4, Rodney Hunter 3, Chase Martin 2.


The Lebanon Daily Record

100 E. Commercial St.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-9131