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VANDALIA — The Vandalia Holiday Tournament is among the oldest in the area, in its 47th year.

But for the last 36 years, the host Vandals have seen the trophy leave the building every season.

On Saturday, they'll have a chance to break a streak that began after winning five straight tournament titles from 1977 to 1981 following a 90-77 win against second-seeded Meridian on Friday.

On Saturday, the Vandals will play top-seeded Shelbyville, which weathered a 38-point performance from Cumberland's Zach Wolke to advance to its first VHT title game since 1998, beating the Pirates 70-63 in overtime.

Vandalia, which advanced to the title game for the first time since 2012, got 33 points from Blake Barth on 13-of-14 from the field, and Blake Morrison added 20 for the Vandals.

"It was a pretty up and down game the whole game — it was kind of fun," Vandalia coach Brian Buscher said. "I’m sure it was fun for the fans, because there were a lot of points being scored.

"Blake Barth had a huge game for us — he’s capable of that, especially when the game gets up and down like it was. But we had everybody contribute." 

Buscher said he's not putting pressure on his players to win the tournament.

"I’m proud of our kids," Buscher said. "We told them after the game: 'We’re just playing another game. I know it’s the championship, but don’t put extra pressure on yourself. Just play our style of game and go from there. Don’t make it bigger than what it is.'"

Shelbyville (11-2), which hasn't won the title since 1994, got 27 points from Malcolm Miller — 21 in the second half — and 19 from Leo Logue to help overcome a 17-4 first-quarter deficit.

"Our kids just showed some good effort — they kept fighting back and fighting back," Shelbyville coach Bob Herdes said. "They got it down to five or six at halftime and finally caught them at the end.

"In overtime, we made some free throws when we needed to. Cumberland’s a really good basketball team. The Wolke kid was just crazy offensively."

Buscher said the Vandals will have to find a way to slow Miller.

"He’s a nightmare matchup," Buscher said. "We particularly like to play man-to-man, and we’re going to have to find a way to contain him a little."

Herdes said his team just has to keep playing the way it did the final three quarters and overtime against Cumberland.

"We’ll just keep doing what we do,"  he said. "It’s just a matter of effort and execution.”

Springfield SHG 90, Mattoon 89, OT

EFFINGHAM — In a bizarre ending with a controversial scoring change with 1.3 seconds left in overtime, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin advanced to the title game of the Effingham-Teutopolis Christmas Classic to face Teutopolis.

In a high-scoring game where no one led by more than seven points, it appeared that Mattoon took a 90-89 on a 3-pointer by Jacob Spitz with 14 seconds left in overtime. However, with 1.3 seconds left, the official scorer told the officials the score should be SHG 89, Mattoon 88. After a meeting, the score stood with the Cyclones leading, SHG's Andrew Schluter made one of two free throws, and the Green Wave's long in-bounds pass was stolen.


MacArthur wins two

DECATUR — The Generals went 2-0 at the Eisenhower Holiday Tournament to set up a play-in game with Eisenhower for a spot in the championship game.

The city rivals will play at 11:30 a.m. The championship game is at 4 p.m.

The Generals, who beat Tolono Unity 58-18 and Urbana 64-47, have won eight games in a row to improve to 11-6.

"It’s going to be a dog fight tomorrow," MacArthur coach Micheal Williams said. "Eisenhower is always going to be ready to play against us. It’s going to be a fight to get to the championship. It’s going to come down to who takes care of the ball.”

Against Urbana, Quincenia Jackson had 32 points and 13 rebounds.

"Q was just a monster," Williams said. "I really think Q is upset because last year she had a good season and didn’t make all-conference, so I think she’s out to prove to people that she’s one of the top players in this conference. She’s had some D1 coaches watching her, and today, even after playing two games, she went home, got something to eat, then asked me to go back to the gym with her to work on some shots. She’s working hard."

Charleston advances to title game

CHARLESTON — Charleston began the day by defeating the No. 5 team in Class 1A in Tri-County 60-47, and then had to follow that performance up with a narrow 45-43 win over Effingham.

Charleston (17-0) will play Teutopolis in the title game.

Against Tri-County, Trojans sophomore Shae Littleford had 35 points.

“We just could not contain the (Shae) Littleford girl,” said Tri-County coach Joe Morrisey. “She is going to be a Division I basketball player. We could not guard her. Charleston is a really good team.”

Against Effingham, Charleston's Hannah Buscher hit a free throw to tie the game with under 10 seconds left, then Littleford had a steal and hit two free throws with 3.7 seconds left to give the Trojans the win.

“We were expecting a game that was going to have a lot of runs, but we weathered the storm,” Charleston coach Jeff Miller said. “I will say that we got a little lucky. I thought our effort was tremendous. We are a pretty good defensive team, and we really gritted it out in the end.”

The win was the second for Charleston against Effingham this season.

"We made some big shots that put us up, but we have to be better defensively,” said Effingham coach Jeff Schafer. “We have to cut harder to get open. We had a timeout we could have used that we did not use. It was a bunch of little things. The human element to it just sucks for everyone.”


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