Thompsonville barely escapes with a win last night against Waltonville

By Steve Dunford 

SESSER –  The Thompsonville Tigers and the Waltonville Spartans tangled last night, in what was the closest game of the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.

In a game where there were ten ties and eleven lead changes, the Thompsonville Tigers leave Sesser with a 51-49 win against the Waltonville Spartans.

Junior point guard Tyson Kessler comes up big for the Tigers in the closing seconds.  His penetration has been giving  opponents fits since his freshman year.

The Tigers struggled against the Spartan 2-3 zone.  They were unable to bust it, because they were ice cold behind the arc.  The Tigers put on a three point shooting clinic in Monday night’s game against Cobden.  They hit eight for the game, and six in the fourth quarter.

The only lead the Tigers had in the first quarter was a bucket by Reed Raubach at 2-0.  The Thompsonville defense had trouble guarding Jaylon Malone.  He rattled off six points in the first quarter, and was involved in any other bucket by Waltonville in the first quarter picking up assists.  Waltonville raced out to a 15-11 lead after one.

The Tigers did not shoot the three well, but Corbin Fitch and Tyson Kessler was taking it to the Waltonville zone.  Fitch put up eight points in the frame, and Kessler six.  Two came with time expiring in the half with the game tied.  Kessler knocked down two free throws to put the Tigers up two at halftime.

The Spartans took a seven point point lead with about two minutes on the clock in the third quarter and had the ball.  An Anthony Darge stickback, a three by Raubach, and another dribble drive bucket put Thompsonville 43-41 after three.

The Tigers went up 49-43 and looked like they were in the drivers seat.  They struggled from the free throw line down the stretch, and let the Spartans sneak back in to tie it up at 49.  Dillon Banach came up big for the Spartans down the stretch.

Tyson Kessler takes over  he scores the bucket to put T’ville on top.  The Tigers only had five fouls in the second half, so they had one to give.

Kessler fouls Waltonville with :00.5 on the clock.  The inbound was tipped around and the Tigers walk off with the victory.

Kessler also scored a game high 15 points.  Corbin Fitch gutted through illness and added 12.  Anthony Darge was the third Tiger in double figures with 11.

Thompsonville coach Pete Gordon had this to say about last night’s win.  “Waltonville was a struggle for us. We continue to do some things well, and struggle in other areas.”

“The tricky thing is, every time we play, those things keep changing and we never know what are going to be our strengths and what will be are weaknesses.”

“We executed some nice zone offense sets tonight ( we didn’t shoot from the perimeter well, 2-11 from three) We didn’t play good man defense either.” 

“I am proud of our seniors, Zack Kirkman and Jake Dixon.  They  gave us some quality minutes off the bench in the 3rd and 4th quarter, and help change the momentum after getting down seven.” 

Jaylon Malone led the Spartans with 15 on the night, Dillon Banach 12.  Let me also add that Banach did a great job on both ends of the floor against the much taller Tigers on the inside.  Gage Berkermeyer added 10 for the Spartans.

The Tigers improve to 5-6 on the season.  They will take on the Odin Eagles in a consolation semi-final game at 5 p.m. this afternoon.   Coach Gordon shared a few comments about Odin. “They are solid, and big. We will face an uphill battle. If we can make some perimeter shots and defend better then we did tonight I think we can keep it close.”

The Spartans fell to 2-8 on the season.  They will be taking a trip across Jefferson County to Bluford to face the Webber Township Trojans.

Box Score

THOMPSONVILLE (51)   Darge 4 0 3-7 11, Fitch 6 0 0-0 12, Raubach 2 1 0-1 7, Kessler 6 0 4-4 16, Roberts 0 0 0-0 0, Kirkman 0 1 0-0 3, Dixon 1 0 0-0 2, Furlow 0 0 0-0 0 .2FG-19, 3FG-2, FT-7-12, PF-10. 

WALTONVILLE (49)   Newell 1 1 1-2 6, Berkemeier 5 0 0-0 10, Malone 6 1 0-0 15, Banach 5 0 1-3 12, Webb 1 0 0-0 2, Haley 0 0 0-0 0, Tucker 2 0 0-0 4, Sheldon 0 0 0-0 0, Griffith 0 0 0-0 0. 2FG-20, 3FG-2, FT-3-5, PF-

Fouled out – Banach

Line Score

THOMPSONVILLE (5-6)    11 – 19 – 13 – 8  –  51

WALTONVILLE (2-8)  15 – 13 – 13 – 8  –  49





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