DECATUR — Tom Saunches just coached the LSA boys basketball team to its first title at the Bill Rucks Thanksgiving Tournament, but he insisted he didn't deserve too much credit after the Lions beat Mount Pulaski 63-58 in the championship game on Saturday.
"At one point, I just said to them: 'You know what you're doing, so I'll get out of the way. Go play,'" said Saunches, in his first year as LSA coach. "They're a talented bunch."
Five LSA players scored between nine and 12 points a night after the Lions (4-0) beat Central A&M in double overtime to make the title game.
"We came out in the first quarter and it was a replay of the A&M game — we hit four threes in the first quarter, then only two the rest of the game," Saunches said. "I think our legs were a little shot from double OT last night. But the balance was outstanding."
DECATUR TURKEY TOURNAMENT
Mount Zion 73, Peoria Central 70
In a back and forth game which saw both teams grab the lead again and again, Mount Zion was finally able to put away Peoria Central in the third place consolation game.
The Braves were led by another strong performance by Jonah Smith who led all scorers with 35 points. He also added six assists.
Mount Zion jumped out to a 17-10 lead after the first quarter but Peoria took back the lead 30-28 at the half.
The Braves outscored the Lions 27-11 in the fourth quarter to grab the three-point victory.
Greg Hart grabbed 11 rebounds for Mount Zion.
Peoria was led by Cortez Mosley's 23 points.
Springfield Southeast 76, Harvey Thornton 44
In the consultation title game, Harvey Thornton came out ice cold against Springfield Southeast and fell behind 20-4 after the first quarter, a gap too big to come back from.
Southeast was led by strong performances by Anthony Fairlee and Terrion Murdix who scored 22 and 20 points, respectively.
Murdix also had eight assists and seven steals for the Spartans.
Thornton was led by Harrison Bey-Buie who scored 10 points.
MacArthur 66, Neoga 42
COWDEN — MacArthur completed a 4-0 run through the Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City Thanksgiving Tournament, jumping to a big lead and holding off a second-half Neoga run.
The Generals (4-0) led 21-7 after a quarter and 39-14 at half. Neoga cut the lead to 17 with an 18-10 third quarter advantage. But MacArthur put the game away by outscoring Neoga 17-10 in the fourth.
Ten players scored for the Generals, led by Jayda Dees with 15 points and Taya Davis with 12 points.