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The Daily American - West Frankfort, IL
  • Tornadoes outlast Trico, move on to Regional Final

  • Another Regional game came down to the wire for Zeigler-Royalton Thursday, and once again, the Tornadoes were able to emerge victorious.
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  • Another Regional game came down to the wire for Zeigler-Royalton Thursday, and once again, the Tornadoes were able to emerge victorious.
    Senior Brandon Jones completed a three-point play with 20 seconds left to give the Tornadoes a five-point lead, and after Trico pulled within three, the Pioneers' desperation three-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim, and allowed Z-R to escape with a 44-41 win.
    Nick McPhail led a balanced Tornadoes attack with 14 points.
    "This was a hard-fought win," Z-R head coach Matt Morgan said. "It was a defensive battle and fortunately, we were able to convert on our opportunities and get the win. That was a great play by Jones. He was telling me the whole game that he was getting fouled in the paint and I told him to shut up and go up strong. He listened and was able to muscle his way to the hoop to give us some breathing room as well as what turned out to be the winning play. Someone new always comes through for us each game. On Tuesday, it was (Andrew) Reece and tonight, it was Brandon."
    A putback by Brandon Stubblefield put Z-R up by nine points early in the fourth quarter, and after the Pioneers cut the deficit to four, Stubblefield would sink a wide-open trey to give the Tornadoes a 41-34 lead. Trico would answer though with a steal and layup from Jake Chapman and a three-pointer from Jordan Jones to make it a two-point game right before Brandon Jones made his winning play for the Tornadoes.
    Z-R got out to a great start as McPhail scored 10 points in the opening frame and gave the Tornadoes a 14-4 lead. Trico would recover though as it went on a 12-0 run to take the lead, and got a trey from Jordan Jones to take a 21-20 advantage into the break.
    "The kids were really focused to play from the opening tip," Morgan said. "They got off to a slow start on Tuesday, and they wanted to make up for that. Other than the quick start though, our offense was pretty stagnant. We are going to need to score efficiently the whole game, and continue to rebound the ball like we did tonight if we want to take down Goreville."
    The Tornadoes took control in the third quarter as they went on an 8-0 run to go up 28-24, and got two big three-pointers from Bailey Schimpf to give them a 34-27 lead heading into the exciting final frame.
    Z-R will take on the top-seeded Blackcats in the Regional Final Friday at 7 p.m.

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