GOREVILLE — Christopher held off a late Goreville rally to beat the Blackcats, 81-76, on Thursday, in a Black Diamond West boys basketball battle moved up a day because of the winter storm.
"Every time we come down here it’s a good game," said Christopher coach Eric Stallman. "It’s always tough to win here and, especially on Homecoming night when they have all their fans out. It was a good win."
Christopher (12-3, 2-1 BDW) finished with five players in double digit scoring. Jared Curry led the Bearcats with 26 points. Bradley Young and Bryce Pratt, who came off the bench, finished with 17 each, followed by Dalton Saeger with 11 and Gage Hawkins with 10.
"I was a little tired," said Curry, who was in his second game back from a p pulled muscle behind his knee. "I was surprised how well I played because I felt I would be out of shape. Even though they took the lead, we don’t panic because we work on that scenario every day in practice."
After Goreville had come back from a eight-point deficit with 6:51 remaining to take the lead with 54 seconds left, Christopher was sent to the line five times, making eight of the 10 free throws to hold off the Blackcats off.
"I told our kids they are always going to make a run," Stallman said. "Braden Webb is a tremendous player, he hit 31 tonight. He can shoot them into any game no matter how much they’re down. He’s such a good player."
Goreville (11-5, 2-3 BDW) trailed almost the entire game, but erased a 5-point deficit with 2:38 left to retake the lead 74-73 on a fastbreak layup by Webb.
"This was Curry’s second game back after playing just 16 minutes Tuesday. He played the full game tonight and we’re happy to have him back," Stallman said. "We’ve got two really good seniors who can play with Curry and Young and a lot of complementary pieces."
However, the Blackcats fouled Curry on the in-bounds pass and sent him to the line. The senior was 3-of-5 from the charity stripe and made both free throws to regain the lead for the Bearcats with 46.3 seconds remaining.
"It usually is a good game every time we play them," said Goreville coach Todd Tripp. "However, when we finally got the lead, we’re not smart enough to know just to guard them and not foul them 55 feet from the bucket. Then we don’t get a rebound on a missed free throw. We made some bonehead plays that cost us the game."
Goreville came right back down the court, but Webb’s 3-point attempt from the right corner went off the rim. Morgan Bishop pulled down the rebound and fed Webb for a layup, but it also bounced off the rim.
Christopher was sent back to the line five times with Pratt, who had made his first four free throws, doing the honors. He made his first, but missed his second; however, Young got the rebound and Pratt was fouled again almost immediately. This time he missed his first and made his second to increase the lead to three with 23 seconds left.