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Triad hoopers fall at buzzer in Bethalto

By Anthony Jones

TROY — In Triad’s first two meetings with Civic Memorial on the year, the Knights recorded double-digit victories over the Eagles.

Their third battle with their Mississippi Valley Conference foes, which came in the form of a Jan. 26 trip to Bethalto, proved to be tighter than their previous meetings.

With less than a minute to remain in that contest, the visitors found themselves in a 44-44 tie with the Eagles. A Drew Winslow drive through the lane and layup through contact then pushed the Knights ahead 46-44 with just 17 ticks left.

The game would be decided by a single shot 14 seconds later, as Civic’s DJ Dutton uncorked a jump shot from beyond the arc.

As the long ball carried through the hoop, the home crowd erupted upon their 47-46 victory.

“They gave us their absolute best tonight, there was no question about that. They were just a little tougher, a little more physical and they responded to every big play we made,”  Coach Jeff Guidry spoke of Civic Memorial’s effort to knock off his squad after two previous losses.

The Eagle’s last-second shot to score a 47-46 win was their first lead since they held a 5-4 advantage in the first quarter. By the end of the first period, Triad took control 19-9 and they remained ahead 26-19 at half.

With a 41-31 lead early in the final frame, the Knights quickly found themselves on the wrong side of a 10-0 run that ended with a tie at the three and a half minute mark.

Winslow broke the tie with a free throw and a close range basket to move ahead 44-41 ahead of an Eagle three that led to the ill-fated 44-44 tie in the final minute.

Triad’s Tyler Thompson led all scorers in the defeat with 19 after netting 15 in the first half. The Knight offense was further paced by 16 points from Winslow.

Following their letdown loss, the then 15-8 Knights were faced with a matchup with the 16-4 Waltonville Trojans at the Pinckneyville Panther Showcase less than 24 hours.

Coach Guidry previewed that contest, “They’re a solid team. They’re probably one of the better smaller schools and it’s one of the better teams they’ve had in a long time. It’s a tough turnaround, but we’ve just got to be ready to go and move on.”

Triad jumped off to a 6-0 lead in that bout and held Waltonville scoreless through three minutes and 23 seconds of action. First quarter offense continued its slow pace before a top of the key three from Isaac Ackerman gave the Knights an 11-6 lead.

The second frame saw that lead range from six to a dozen points before Triad went into the break ahead 28-16.

Waltonville would fail to move within any closer to six points of the lead in the remaining half before Triad wrapped up the win in 60-45 fashion. The final tally marked the Trojan’s lowest scoring total and largest margin of defeat on the season.

Winslow led the victor’s with 15 points in the win. Ethan Stewart and Ackerman both hit double digits with 10 in the win.

Triad’s only home game last week, a Jan. 23 meeting with Ladue, resulted in a 55-37 setback. That defeat ended a six-game win streak for the Knights and improved the Ram’s to 17-1 overall.

The loss still produced a notable milestone for the Knights: Winslow reaching 1000 career points. With 11 points on the night, the junior finished with 1004 points across his three years of varsity action.

“He’s so hard to guard and putting him in the right positions to score is something we’ve kind of figured out recently. I’m real proud of him,” Coach Guidry spoke of the standout scorer.

Triad’s leading scorer has tallied 361 points this season after netting 375 as a sophomore and 299 as a freshman.

The Knight’s next home contest is scheduled for Feb. 2 versus Highland.

Triad’s Ethan Stewart maneuvers past an Eagle. (Photo by Anthony Jones)



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