Boys Basketball

Mustangs split day one of Clinton Central Tournament

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MICHIGANTOWN — Fountain Central split the first two games of the Clinton Central Tournament on Tuesday as they fell to a talented North Judson team and bounced back later in the day with a victory over Tri-Central.

Mustangs suffer first loss vs hot shooting Blue Jays

No basketball team in the state rarely ever goes undefeated. For the 4th ranked Fountain Central Mustangs they were off to a 7-0 start after capturing the Bi-County title last week with wins over Seeger and Covington. Now a new test awaited the Mustangs as they were back in action Tuesday competing in the 63rd annual Clinton Central Holiday Tournament. Game one for FC saw them go up against a very talented North Judson team and from the get go FC was in a for a fight. While the Mustangs held their own, the Blue Jays hot shooting allowed them to hand Fountain Central their first loss of the season in a 74-63 win.

North Judson connected on 15-21 three point shots and shot 28-41 (68%) from the field and seemed to have an answer for every time Fountain Central made a run. Trailing 32-29 in the final seconds but an excellent in-bounds play for the Blue Jays resulted in a three from Quinn Bales at the buzzer to give them a 35-29 lead at halftime.

A late third quarter rally from the Mustangs trimmed the deficit to 52-48 near the end of the third, but yet another triple in the final seconds gave the Blue Jays momentum which they used to go on a what was a 10-0 run to lead 62-48. FC cut it down to seven late in the game but it time was too little too late as they suffered their first loss.

“We needed a game like this,” Fountain Central coach Greg Dean said. “They’re a terrific team and have so many guys who can do so many things. When you hit 15 threes in a game you’re going to win most of those games. We did a lot of good things and had some runs where we got some momentum, but we just couldn’t sustain it for long enough. It was a battle where we went toe-to-toe with them, but just came up short.”

Fountain Central shot it well themselves going to 27-49 (55%) from the field and made 10 threes of their own. Mason Larkin led all scorers in the game with 30 points which set a new career high for the 6’10 senior. Luke Foxworthy scored 19 with Will Harmon adding five, Isaac Gayler four, and Koby Wolf and Brayden Prickett both scored three.

North Judson was led in scoring by Kelson Jordan who ended with 26 points. Three other Blue Jays scored in double figures as Ty Schumacher scored 18, Cheyenne Allen added 15, and Bales scored 11. Both Aldric Harper and Eric Materna ended with two.

“We consider ourselves a good shooting team and we needed all 15 of them to beat Fountain Central today,” Blue Jays coach Kent Chezem said. “That was two really good teams out there and it felt like a sectional championship atmosphere at there.”

The tournament and the competition that the Mustangs did and will see will do nothing but pay off for his team in the long run as Dean notes.

“That’s the reason we wanted to play in this tournament,” he said. “We knew we were going to see tough teams and this is a good way for us to prepare for the post-season. Anytime you can play teams like the ones in this tournament, you have to take full advantage of that.”

FC bounces back with win over Trojans

Fountain Central looked like the FC that the Mustang faithful are used to in game number two against Tri-Central as the Mustangs were quickly back in the win column with a 68-55 win over the Trojans. A Will Harmon three at the second quarter buzzer gave FC a 33-27 lead and then the Trojans went on a  7-0 run in the middle of the third and cut the Mustang lead to just 39-36. That’s when the Mustangs responded with a big 17-0 run of their own to pull away and ultimately seal the win as the Trojans could never climb out of the hole.

“We had some stretches where we did some good things but we also had some stretches where we didn’t play our brand of defense and make life hard on the other team,” Dean said. “We’re kind of in a weird stretch where it’s Christmas break, and people are tired and you have to play two games which is hard. Thankfully we were able to bounce back from the loss earlier in the day and now we have a tough one tomorrow.”

The Mustangs got a bounce back game from junior guard Will Harmon who had just five points in the first game of the day. Harmon led all scorers with 18 in the win. Mason Larking added 14 points and Isaac Gayler rounded out the double-figure scoring for FC with 12. Koby Wolf added nine with Owen Acton notching six, Isaac Hehmann four, Luke Foxworthy three, and Brayden Prickett two.

After seeing his star guard have an off game in the earlier loss, Dean noted how it was good to see Harmon bounce back to help lead the team to the win.

“Will needed this game,” he said. “We’re all battling some sickness and health issues and have a lot of guys who aren’t feeling quite 100% and he’s one of them. Getting him to bounce back and for him just to see the ball go through the net was big for him. We were more patient on offense than we were in that first game and that was good to see. Overall we played hard and I’m proud of the guys for the win.”

The Mustangs with their 1-1 record on the day are 8-1 on the season and will have another tough test on Wednesday when they conclude the Clinton Central tournament as they will take on the Caroll Cougars in the 5th place game. That game is scheduled to start roughly at 3:15 and Dean knows he’ll have to have his team prepared for a quick turnaround.

“Carroll is a good team and we’re going to have to go home and get some rest,” he said. “We’ll have a little walk through beforehand and talk what we need to do to end this tournament with a win.”

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