DECATUR — Eisenhower basketball didn't have a post-Thanksgiving slump Friday in its Turkey Tournament game with Mount Zion.
The Panthers came out with an intense defense, creating 14 Braves turnovers in the first half and 26 for the game, and went on to win 60-42 to move into the consolation championship to be played Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
"It's hard after eating that good meal on Thanksgiving, but they came out with some good energy and communicating well," Eisenhower coach Rodney Walker said. "The defense was good but we aren't quite where we need to be yet. Guys are still learning where they are supposed to be."
The Panthers recorded 19 steals, including four each from Brylan Phillips, Cam Rowe and Mali Carson.
"We got off to a good start and then we got rushed with what we were trying to do. They extended their defense to speed us up and well into that trap," Mount Zion coach Dale Schuring said.
Behind nine first-half points by Phillips and Rowe, Eisenhower led 32-24 at halftime. Phillips finished with a game-high 19 points, RJ Walker had 17 and Rowe finished with 13.
"We are going to need that from them every game. We will need them to step up every night (this season)," Walker said.
For Mount Zion, Nash Mose led with 13 points and seven rebounds. Drew London recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. He also added four steals.
The Braves also won the rebound battle 30 to 18.
"It was a much better game for us. We've got signs of what we can be and we are just not consistent with it yet. There are a lot of things that we are not prepared for yet," Schuring said. "I think we are playing hard and we are rebounding well. The goals today were to get back in transition defense and get more shots up and I think we did those much better than in the first night (against Bolingbrook)."
For Walker, he will be looking for the first half intensity from his team for the entire game on Saturday.
"It's just the nature of starting the season and getting up by more than 10, they sort of lose some of their intensity," he said. "It will come. I want to have our guys play like they are down all the time."
Contact Matthew Flaten at (217) 421-6968. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFlaten
Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter
Sent weekly directly to your inbox!