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DECATUR -- LSA's Grant Karsten scored 30 but a balanced Meridian scoring effort featuring three players in double-figures was too much as the Hawks won 54-46 Tuesday. 

Junior Jacob Jones led Meridian with 20 points, Graham Meisenhelter had 15 and Garrett Meisenhelter put in 10. 

The Hawks jumped out to a 14-5 lead after the first quarter but LSA had tightened it to 27-23 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter LSA had the lead 40-38 but Meridian's defense came alive in the fourth and limited the Lions to just six points. 

“I thought for us, we did a much better job in the fourth quarter. Jacob Jones did a really good job on defending Grant Karsten. Karsten had 30 points but we limited him in the fourth," Meridian coach Jay Driscoll said. "Jones carried us with 10 points in the fourth quarter. He played really, really tough D.

"It was a back-and-forth game in the fourth quarter and we were able to go on a run late with some big shots by Jones. We did a good job on closing out the game with some good defensive stops.”

Freshman Graham Meisenhelter earned praise from his coach. 

"Graham had another really solid game, with 15 points and some really good assists. We’re really happy with the way he’s playing right now," Driscoll said. 

Along with Karsten's 30 points, Michael Fiala added eight including two 3-pointers for LSA. Beaux Boehm grabbed eight rebounds and Coby Crafton had seven. 

Central A&M 50, Pana 37

MOWEAQUA -- Central A&M's Connor Heaton led all scorers with 18 points as the Raiders defeated Pana in a physical contest. 

“I thought we played really good defense. I thought it was a very physical game, and it was a typical early-season game," Central A&M coach Rob Smith said. "We weren’t crisp on the offensive end, but I was happy that we were able to win a game and that grind-it-out kind of fashion. That’s something you’re going to have to do along the way to be a really good team. We got really good contributions off the bench from Cord Fenton and Torre Palmer.”

Central A&M led 9-8 at the end of the first quarter and extended the lead to seven at halftime, 23-16. The Panthers were not able to shrink the Raiders' lead in the second half. 

Griffin Andricks scored 13 points and Jacob Paradee added 11 for Central A&M (1-0). 

Jonah Lauff led the Panthers with 12 points and Jared Beyers scored eight points. The Panthers also connected on six 3-pointers in the game. 

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Mount Zion 59, Monticello 29

MOUNT ZION -- Mount Zion's Laney Wolter flirted with a triple-double as the Braves got out quick against Monticello taking a 25-9 lead after one quarter. 

“Laney controlled our team tonight. She had 8 rebounds and 10 assists for us. Our pressure caused a lot of turnovers early," Mount Zion coach Shane Davis said. "Jenny Baumann had 8 rebounds again and almost had a double-double on back-to-back-to-back nights."

Alexis Rhoades and Bauman led the Braves with 15 points each. Wolter added eight points.

After the big first quarter, Monticello was able to slow the Braves' offense. 

"In the second quarter, they did a good job and we got into a little foul trouble," Davis said. "We had a good third quarter again. We’re finally a little bit older this year and (Monticello) were a little younger."

Lexie Fisher led the Sages with nine points. Sydney Dowling had seven and Emily Edmondson added six points. 

"Overall, we shot the ball really well and it was a good win for our home opener," Davis said. "We’re still learning and still growing, but we made a step forward again tonight. The girls are doing well. They’re working really hard day in, day out. I’m really pleased.”

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Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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