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Sports

Fighting Irish top Panthers; Warriors fall to Chargers at TCC Tourney

GRANVILLE — It was mixed outcomes for the two Times-area teams participating in Monday night's opening round of the 93rd annual Tri-County Conference Boys Basketball Tournament.

Action here at Putnam County's R. M. Germano Gymnasium first saw third-seeded Seneca trailing the No. 6-seeded hosts early, but a slight defensive adjustment and terrific shooting from beyond the arc led the way to a run-away 28-point win.

Then, in the nightcap, fifth-seeded Woodland fell behind early, but stayed within striking distance of No. 4 seed Peoria Christian. However, though the Warriors trailed by just seven with four minutes to play, the Chargers closed out the 16-point triumph on a 9-0 run.

Seneca (12-8) now advances to Wednesday night's second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. against the winner of tonight's game between No. 2 Roanoke-Benson and No. 7 Henry-Senachwine. Woodland (7-14) drops to the consolation side of the bracket and will take on the loser of the contest between top-seed Marquette and No. 8-seeded DePue.

Seneca 62, Putnam County 34

The Panthers, behind eight of Luke Carlson's team-high 14 points and 5-of-8 shooting as a team, grabbed a 13-11 lead after the opening eight minutes. Seneca coach Russ Witte made an adjustment between quarters to his defense, and other than Jakob Williams' 3-pointer to open the frame, the Fighting Irish held the hosts without a bucket in their final 11 tries before the half. With the defense taking hold, four free throws by Sam Grushkin (10 points, eight rebounds), a free-throw line jumper by Connor Greve (10 points) and a pair of treys and drive from Owen Barnett (game-high 18 points) gave Seneca a 25-16 lead at the intermission.

"With our (1-2-2) ballpress, we have to resign to the fact opponents are going to make shots at some point, but if can stick with it, we hope they don't shoot well throughout the entire game," Witte said. "The first quarter our wings weren't dropping in far enough to take away the high post. (Putnam County) was coming down the floor and making one pass into the high post, and all of a sudden we were forced to scramble. We lost Carlson a couple of times, and that's a kid that, when he's confident, he can shoot."

Seneca, which made good on 11 of 26 from beyond the arc in the game, had five in the third period, two each from Greve and Nate Armburst (13 points), and another from Grushkin to build the margin to 48-29 heading to the fourth stanza.

"We started to pressure the ball like I wanted in the second quarter, and all of a sudden we were getting tips, hands on passes and that allowed us to get some run-outs. That being said, it's always nice to shoot the ball well," said Witte, his club hitting 50 percent the final three quarters, while holding PC to just 8 of 34. "Shooting from the arc has been our Achilles' heel this season, we are hitting around 29 percent, but tonight we were able to get them in rhythm. We also did a good job of making that extra pass.

"We did a good job tonight of working the ball inside out. If you can make a defense play like an accordion, you're going to have success."

Peoria Christian 55, Woodland 37

The Warriors played nearly even with the Chargers in the first period, trailing just 12-9. Peoria Christian opened the second quarter on an 8-2 run, including Tony Cornish converting a pair of layups off two of Woodland's seven miscues in the frame.

Will Pepper then popped in two of his game-high 20 points with a 15-foot jumper in the final minute to give his team a 24-14 lead at the break. Pepper also had team-highs in rebounds (eight) and blocked shots (six) for the Chargers.

"We saw Peoria Christian on film, and we expected a quick, athletic, big, strong, fast team. They were completely as advertised, and we had to try and match up with that. Our team isn't the quickest, but I really thought we hung with them in the first quarter, but then in the second quarter they had a couple of spurts that hurt us," said Woodland coach Connor Kaminke.

"I really thought we came out of halftime and played some good defense and were able to chip away during the second half. We did a much better job after halftime of getting deflections and anticipating the next pass."

Woodland was able to cut things to six (29-23) midway through the third after a layup by Nate Carby (six points, two assists and two steals) and short jumper by Collin Hjerpe (seven points, eight rebounds and two blocks), but PC responded with five points from Gabriel Meister and hoops from Pepper to lead 38-29 going into the final eight minutes.

The Warriors made it a two-possession game on two occasions and trailed by the aforementioned seven after Kyle Voytko (13 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals) hit his third triple of the game with 4 minutes, 13 seconds to play. But from there it was all Chargers, as seven points by Pepper, including a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by Meister, closed things out.

"When we got it down to six there with about four minutes to go, I saw some of my guys huffing and puffing and hands on knees. I feel fatigue took over a little there in the final minutes," Kaminke said. "Then they hit a shot, we turned the ball over, and they scored in transition to push it back to a 10-point game.

"We ran out of gas."

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At Granville

Seneca 62, Putnam County 34

(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)

PUTNAM COUNTY (34) Carlson 5-18 1-1 14, Whitney 1-4 0-0 2, Voss 1-1 0-0 2, Pyszka 2-5 0-0 6, Sabotta 3-8 1-2 7, Wiesbrock 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 1-2 0-0 3, Liebhart 0-1 0-0 0, Mecagni 0-0 0-0 0, Pederson 0-2 0-0 0, Witzman 0-0 0-0 0, Staley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-42 2-3 34.

SENECA (62) — Barnett 6-12 2-2 18, Grushkin 2-11 5-6 10, Greve 4-8 0-0 10, Armbrust 5-9 0-0 13, Baudino 2-3 2-2 6, Gonnam 0-1 0-0 0, Punke 0-0 0-0 0, Carey 0-1 0-0 0, Thorsen 0-0 0-0 0, Krause 1-1 0-0 2, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Pena 1-2 0-0 3, Cahill 0-2 0-0 0, O'Boyle 0-0 0-0 0, Van Ness 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-50 9-10 62.

Putnam County (5-17) 13 3 13 5 — 34

Seneca (12-8) 11 14 23 14 — 62

3-points goals — Putnam County 6-25 (Carlson 3-13, Whitney 0-1, Pyszka 2-5, Wiesbrock 0-1, Williams 1-2, Liebhart 0-1, Pederson 0-2); Seneca 11-26 (Barnett 4-7, Grushkin 1-4, Greve 2-5, Armbrust 3-6, Baudino 0-1, Gonnam 0-1, Pena 1-2). Rebounds — Putnam County 24 (Whitney 5); Seneca 33 (Grushkin 8). Assists — Putnam County 7 (Sabotta 2); Seneca 12 (Grushkin 3). Steals — Putnam County 2 (Pyszka 1, Sabotta 1); Seneca 8 (Grushkin 3). Blocks — Putnam County 4 (Voss 3); Seneca 1 (Grushkin 1). Turnovers — Putnam County 20, Seneca 14. Total fouls (none foule out) — Putnam County 11, Seneca 12.

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At Granville

Peoria Christian 53, Woodland 37

(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)

WOODLAND (37) — Carby 2-4 2-6 6, Hjerpe 3-9 0-0 7, Voytko 4-16 2-2 13, Jenkins 1-5 3-3 5, Ewing 1-2 0-0 2, Derossett 0-3 0-0 0, Kress 1-2 0-0 2, Miller 1-1 0-0 2, Simpson 0-1 0-0 0, Hunter 0-2 0-0 0, Stimmell 0-0 0-1 0, Cooper 0-0 0-0 0, Bundy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-45 7-12 37.

PEORIA CHRISTIAN (53) Tilson 3-9 0-0 7, Duncan 1-3 1-2 3, Meister 3-9 3-3 9, Isawumi 1-1 0-0 2, Pepper 9-15 1-2 20, Cornish 5-12 0-0 10, Fisher 1-1 0-0 2, Whitman 0-3 0-0 0, Herrmann 0-0 0-0 0, McAfee 0-1 0-0 0, Grindinger 0-0 0-0 0, Riebel 0-0 0-0 0, Shepherd 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 5-7 53.

Woodland (7-15) 9 6 14 8 — 37

Peoria Christian (9-11) 12 12 14 15 — 53

3-point goals — Woodland 4-18 (Carby 0-1, Hjerpe 1-3, Voytko 3-8, Jenkins 0-3, Kress 0-1, Simpson 0-1, Hunter 0-1); Peoria Christian 2-13 (Tilson 1-4, Duncan 0-2, Meister 0-3, Pepper 1-2, Cornish 0-2). Rebounds — Woodland 30 (Hjerpe 8, Voytko 5); Peoria Christian 37 (Pepper 8, Tilson 6). Assists — Woodland 9 (Voytko 3); Peoria Christian 10 (Meister 5). Steals — Woodland 7 (Voytko 3); Peoria Christian 8 (Meister 3). Blocks — Woodland 2 (Hjerpe 2); Peoria Christian 10 (Pepper 6). Turnovers — Woodland 17, Peoria Christian 13. Total fouls (none fouled out) — Woodland 12, Peoria Christian 13.

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