Lebanon defeats Marshfield in consolation finals

LDR photo/Alex Boyer
The Lebanon High School boys’ basketball team won the consolation finals of the Blue and Gold tournament in Springfield by defeating the Marshfield Blue Jays, 47-43 on Friday night.

By: 
ALEX BOYER ALEX@LEBANONDAILYRECORD.COM

SPRINGFIELD - Just three weeks after Marshfield posted a five-point win over the Lebanon boys’ basketball team in Boswell Auditorium, the ‘Jackets returned the favor, this time in the consolation finals game of the 72nd annual Blue and Gold tournament in Springfield on Friday night, 47-43.

Lebanon (5-5) led Marshfield (8-4) 45-43 with just 19 seconds remaining with Marshfield in possession of the ball before junior Dawson Zimdars intercepted a pass and got the ball to Ethan Christal who hit two free throws to clinch the victory.

“We had an interesting game to say the least, a lot of guys stepped up and did some big things in this game,” Lebanon head coach Adam Thornhill said about Friday’s contest. “Our guys earned every bit of that one.”

The ‘Jackets were led in scoring by Quenton Shelton who scored 25 points in just three quarters of play.

Lebanon was leading the game 42-37 at the end of the third quarter. Lebanon came out attempting to stall some clock in the fourth quarter until Marshfield senior Austin Porter picked off a pass and drew a foul on Shelton to foul him out of the game early on in the final period of play.

Thornhill said the tactic of holding the ball to try to run clock so was Shelton wouldn’t have a chance to pick up his fifth foul.

“Quenton had four fouls, and if we could shorten the quarter up, instead of playing him with four fouls for seven minutes, we would rather play a three minute game and make them come out and guard us and make them spread out that zone, which they did, just to shorten the game a bit,” he said after the game.

“It is kind of tricky because we had some momentum going and maybe you can kill your momentum. But at the same time we wanted Quenton on the floor as much as possible.”

In the first meeting between the two teams in early December, Porter and Tristan Letterman combined for 32 points in the victory for the ‘Jays and Thornhill mentioned after the game that holding them in check (13 points combined) was a huge factor.
“We made it a focus to guard those two, and Jordan Lewis stepped up (on Friday) guarding Letterman and their other big man,” Thornhill said about the sophomore. “I don’t know if there is any better post defender in this tournament and he really proved himself over the past four days.

“Porter is a different beast. He can score from all areas, and honestly, Quenton is one of our best defenders, maybe our best. Putting him on Porter, who we were  worried about, (Shelton) did a great job on him.”

Lebanon finished the Blue and Gold tournament with a 3-1 record and was able to get back to .500 on the season after struggling out of the gate while playing a tough schedule.

“We wanted to play some good teams early. We certainly didn’t dodge anybody,” Thornhill said about the month of December. “We came out and played Nixa and Kirkwood at the beginning of the season with a really young team.

“We just preached getting better from it and not just getting caught up in the scoreboard. Let’s just get better and compete … we are happy to be 5-5 going into the break.”

The ‘Jackets will next play Father Tolton in the first round of the Houlihans Invitational at Springfield Catholic High School on Thursday. Tolton features sophomore Coban Porter, the younger brother of standout basketball players Michael Porter Jr. and Jontay Porter.

“They have another Porter, and he may be their second or third best player,” Thornhill said about the matchup. “They have a lot of talented players, and I know they played Jefferson City, and we are going to watch some film from that game to get ready.”

In the championship games, Mountain Grove defeated Nixa 68-65 in the Blue division game on Friday night and Catholic defeated Repbulic 46-42 in the Gold division.

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