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Watch now: Sharp shooting from St. Teresa's Sammy Tapscott holds off late Warrensburg-Latham run
Watch now: Sharp shooting from St. Teresa's Sammy Tapscott holds off late Warrensburg-Latham run

Watch now: Sharp shooting from St. Teresa's Sammy Tapscott holds off late Warrensburg-Latham run

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DECATUR -- For St. Teresa boys basketball head coach Tom Noonan, his message to the team before the game was when faced with adversity it is how you respond to it that determines your success. To win the game, you've got to win the response.

The challenge for the Bulldogs came in the form of Central Illinois Conference rival Warrensburg-Latham on Friday night at home. The Cardinals came out quick, scoring the game's first eight points and leading 15-11 at the end of the first quarter. 

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St Teresa's Sammy Tapscott (11) hits a three in the second quarter on Friday against Warrensburg-Latham. More photos and video at www.herald-review.com

St. Teresa's response came in the second quarter as the Bulldogs pieced together a 17-4 run powered by strong 3-point shooting from senior Sammy Tapscott to lead 31-22 at halftime. St. Teresa controlled the third quarter, building its lead up to 13 points before Warrensburg had a response of its own and trailed by just one, 52-51 with 1:54 remaining. 

But the Cardinals were never able to retake the lead and Tapscott hit on two free throws with seconds remaining to cement the 58-54 win. 

For both teams, it was a foul-filled and sloppy performance that was indicative of this COVID-influenced season that was short of preseason practices. 

"There is so much learning going on (during the games). We didn't have a summer, we really didn't have an off season. Usually we have about 18 practices before our first game and yesterday was our 12th," Noonan said. "Guys are fulfilling new roles and it obviously wasn't clean in how we played but we had some guys hit some shots tonight. In our first two games, we really didn't hit any shots. It wasn't pretty from the line and it wasn't pretty defensively but Sammy Tapscott hit his free throws at the end. That is what a senior leader does."

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St Teresa's Sammy Tapscott (11) celebrates in the third quarter against Warrensburg-Latham on Friday against Warrensburg-Latham. More photos and video at www.herald-review.com

Tapscott finished with 14 points that included four 3-pointers. When his moment came late, Tapscott didn't shy away from the pressure.

"I was feeling great tonight. I've had a couple rough days at practice but I felt better today and I really got at it today," he said. "I wanted to shoot those free throws. I was shooting good all game and I knew I was going to make them both. I've been a good shooter my whole life and I wanted to shoot them."

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Warrensburg-Latham's MJ Murphy (24) goes to the basket in the second quarter on Friday against St. Teresa. More photos and video at www.herald-review.com

The Cardinals (4-4, 2-2 CIC)  trailed by 13 with :39 left in the third quarter and they worked that down to seven with 3:08 left in the game on a 3-pointer from Jackson Cook. Cook scored a team-high 14 points and MJ Murphy added 11 points. Cook fouled out with 1:27 left and his loss was felt in the Cardinals' final possessions. Ethan Yaroch finished with eight points for the Cardinals and Jacob Six added seven. 

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Warrensburg-Latham's Ethan Yaroch (25) goes to the basket in the second quarter on Friday against St. Teresa. More photos and video at www.herald-review.com

Complementing Tapscott's outside shooting was a dominating performance underneath the basket by Bulldogs sophomore Christion Harper. Harper scored 14 points off the bench and opened up some outside shots for his St. Teresa (2-1, 2-0 CIC) teammates. 

"We struggled from 3 in the first two games. You are kidding yourself if you are going to take 10 months off from a sport and then shoot the ball well," Noonan said. "We have focused on getting more shots up in the past couple of days. Our emphasis today was get the ball inside and our shooters were a little more relaxed because we did have that paint presence."

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St Teresa's Christion Harper (2) is guarded by Warrensburg-Latham Jacob Six (10 ) in the fourth quarter on Friday at St. Teresa. More photos and video at www.herald-review.com

Tapscott and Harper square off in practices and it is Harper that typically comes out on top.

"Every single day, he bullies me in practice. He's too big and nobody can guard him," Tapscott said.  


Contact Matthew Flaten at (217) 421-6968. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFlaten

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