CRAB ORCHARD — Samuel Alstat scored 22 points and Dawson White hit three 3-pointers during a huge run that helped Elverado knock off Pope County, 56-35, Friday afternoon at the 21st annual Crab Orchard Turkey Tournament.
Elverado now takes a 3-1 record into Saturday’s final game against Egyptian, with the lone loss coming against the host Trojans in the tourney’s opening session Monday.
Pope County, which was coming off an emotional win over Egyptian, fell to 2-2 and faces Joppa in Saturday’s first game at 1 p.m. before Crab Orchard finishes up against Dongola.
The Falcons jumped out to a quick double-digit lead, only to see the Pirates surge in front briefly in the third quarter before Elverado exploded for 16 straight points to start a 24-2 or 30-5 run, however you prefer.
“We just knew we had to keep shooting the ball and stay with our defense,” said Elverado coach Jacob Emling. “When we got up early, we knew they were going to make a run. They've got really good shooters, and we expected them to hit a few shots.”
Alstat drilled a 3-pointer to give the Falcons a 12-point lead at the end of the first quarter — the 6-foot-3 senior had eight points in the period — and scored again early in the second to make it 18-4. The Pirates pulled to within 23-19 at the half thanks to eight points from Jackson Eddington.
Then just under the six-minute mark of the third quarter, Pope County took the lead on a three-point play by Connor Hobbs. The Falcons went back in front on a triple by Alstat, and the Pirates didn’t score again in the frame.
Chase Buser turned a steal into a layup, then White put down his three triples with Alstat converting a nifty baseline putback before the third. This gave the Falcons a 42-27 lead going into the fourth quarter.
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“You have to give them a lot of credit because they really stepped up,” said Pope County coach James Simmons. “We came back and took the lead for about 30 seconds, but that was about as long as it lasted. We pressured them and capitalized on some of it, but at the same time, we didn't finish a lot of shots — but this tournament is for learning.”
Elverado finished with 10 shots from 3-point land in the win.
“We talked about making the extra pass,” Emling said. “On those 3s we knocked down, we made one more pass and had great shot selection.”
Jordan Ellis scored to end the drought for the Pirates, but Elverado got driving baskets from Alstat, White and Tanner Shread before free throws from Alstat capped the 24-2 run, which featured some slick ball-control passing.
“We practice that and have an offense specifically for that,” Emling said. “We try to get teams to come out and overplay and try to get a layup out of it.”
White finished with 14 points to join Alstat in double figures. Eddington led Pope County with 13 points.
“They moved the ball really well and got some nice open looks,” Simmons said. “We have to be able to guard the 3-point shots, and we haven't done that real well in the tournament and it showed today.”