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Vickers, Bulldogs top Putnam County at Pops

STREATOR — Back in the day, when Marv Albert was calling NBA basketball games on NBC-TV, when a player made some baskets in a row, Albert would say that player was 'on fire.'

Albert would have been screaming 'on fire' from the top of his lungs if he was watching Streator Bulldogs senior guard Mitch Vickers' performance against the Putnam County Panthers in Saturday night's non-conference boys basketball contest here at Pops Dale Gymnasium in Streator.

Vickers torched the nets for 29 points — 21 of those points came in the first half — as Streator (3-3) came away with a 60-44 win over the winless Panthers (0-6).

Vickers shot 9-of-16 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from behind the three-point arc, while also hitting 8-of-10 free-throw attempts.

“I was feeling it during warm-ups,” Vickers said. “Then it translated to the game.”

Before Vickers got going, it was Putnam County’s 6-3 junior center Kaleb Wright and Streator’s 6-4 senior center Wes Jolly that got their teams’ going to begin the game.

Wright opened the scoring by draining a 10-footer at the 7 minute, 24 second mark of the first quarter, before Jolly answered back with a layup 19 seconds later to tie the game at 2-2.

Another Wright basket and a basket by Auston Pflibsen gave the Panthers a 6-2 lead until Jolly answered back with a layup with 5:08 left in the first quarter.

“We feel like we have a big-time post player in Wes Jolly,” Streator coach Beau Doty said. “We wanted to get him going early and establish him inside and play inside-out. We were able to get the ball to him in some good spots. Once Mitch (Vickers) made a few plays defensively and that jumper fell ... he just had a bounce about him tonight and that’s the kind of player Mitch can be.”

The Panther lead grew to 8-4 when Vickers went to work and scored the next 11 Bulldogs points to help SHS to a 15-13 lead.

In fact, Vickers did something that you don’t see very often in any level of basketball as he was fouled on both a 2-point and a 3-point attempt and made both free throws for seven of his 11 first quarter points.

“I knew I was feeling it in the first quarter, “ Vickers said. “I scored something like five points in a row and I took off from there.”

Vickers and Jolly continued to outscore the Panthers by themselves in the second quarter.

The Streator duo scored the teams’ first 10 points in the quarter with Vickers netting eight points, including two straight treys, while Jolly added a layup. A 15-footer jumper from Vickers gave the Bulldogs players 25 points to just 19 for Putnam County.

It wasn’t until there was 3:10 left to go until halftime when Noah Mascal put in a rebound basket that a third Bulldogs player put points on the board.

Mascal ended the night with nine points, including a thunderous dunk with 2:10 left to go in the game, to give Streator a 53-40 lead.

Streator turned up the defensive effort in the second half as they outscored the Panthers 28-17 after leading 32-27 at intermission.

“(Putnam County) really dictated the tempo of the first half,” Doty said. “We knew that they would come in hungry. They have some talented kids even with missing (guard Caleb) Dzierzynski. Wright is a load inside and you got (Luke) Carlson who can shoot from the outside. ”

Jolly was the other Bulldogs player to hit the double figure mark as he added 12 points.

Putnam County put two players in double figures with Wright leading the way with 16 points and Carlson adding 12 points.

Streator stays in non-conference action on Tuesday night when they travel to Morris.

At Pops Dale Gymnasium, Streator
Streator 60, Putnam County 44
PUTNAM COUNTY (44) — Carlson 4-11 1-2 11, Kreiser 4-7 0-0 8, Whitney 1-4 0-0 2, Pflibsen 1-1 0-0 2, Huffstodt 0-0 0-1, Voss 0-1 0-0 0, Sabotta 0-1 5-9 5, Wright 7-18 2-7 16, Gray 0-0 0-0 0, Colby 0-0 0-0 0, Witzman 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Dzierzynski 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-42 8-19 44.
STREATOR (60) — Vickers 9-16 8-10 29, Byers 1-6 0-0 2, Benckendorf 1-2 0-0 3, Grosbeck 0-1 0-0 0, Telford 0-1 1-2 1, Jordan 1-1 0-0 2, N. Mascal 4-9 0-0 9, Ramon 1-1 0-1 2, M. Benning 0-1 0-0 0, Jolly 6-9 0-1 12, Colter 0-0 0-0 0, Diaz 0-0 0-0 0, Grace 0-0 0-0 0, G. Mascal 0-0 0-0 0 Cantrell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-46 9-14 60.
Putnam County (0-6)      13  14  9   8 — 44
Streator (3-3)         15  17  14  14 — 60

3-point goals — Putnam Co. 2-7 (Carlson 2-6, Wright 0-1); Streator 5-11 (Vickers 3-6, Benckendorf 1-2, N. Mascal 1-3). Turnovers — Putnam Co. 11, Streator 5. Total Fouls — (none fouled out) Putnam Co. 14, Streator 15. Technical foul — N. Mascal.

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