METROPOLIS, Ill. - With Andre Strayhorn starting strong, Sayveon McEwen finishing tough and Mikey Davis and Brannon Warfield contributing all through the game, Paducah Tilghman snapped its two-game losing streak and kept Massac County out of the winners' bracket of its own Superman Classic with a 76-65 win Tuesday night.
The Tornado will take on Meridian (Ill.) in Friday's semifinal. The Bobcats were scheduled to play Union County in Tuesday's second game, but the Braves were unable to attend on account of hazardous road conditions. The Patriots will face Union in Friday's consolation semifinal.
For Tilghman coach Brad Stieg, this was a big win against a tough opponent in a difficult situation.
"It's probably one of our better wins of the season," Stieg said. "Most of our wins have been against teams that don't have the size, experience or record of Massac. To beat them in their tournament on their court was huge, because teams always play well in their tournament."
At first, that was not the case for the Patriots. Their shots did not fall and Tilghman's presence under the boards kept them from too many second chances. Strayhorn made Massac play by sinking three 3-pointers in the quarter to get the Tornado up 25-7. Massac closed the opening frame with seven unanswered points, but Tilghman extended its lead to 38-19 by halftime.
Massac needed something to keep this game from getting further out of hand in the second half. Jalen Roundtree was just what the hosts needed. After failing to score in the first half, the junior guard put up seven points in the third period to slash the deficit. Dalton Mitchell, who scored three points in the first half, exploded for 10 in the third including two three-point plays.
"I knew Massac would come out with the run," Stieg said. "We just didn't handle things very well. They took it right at us. We almost gave it away."
McEwen, who had three fouls, helped keep the game in Tilghman's favor. After Massac cut the lead to five, McEwen pushed it back up to eight with a 3-pointer midway through the third. Davis completed two three-point plays of his own, and Warfield made another three followed by a McEwen layup in the final minute of the third.
The Tornado led by nine after three quarters, but opened the fourth with McEwen completing a three-point play. Mitchell hit Massac's only 3-pointer with 5:45 left to get within three, but that was as close as the Patriots would get the rest of the way.
Davis led Tilghman with 24 points, followed by Warfield with 15, McEwen with 14 and Strayhorn with 11. Mitchell topped Massac with 22 points. Roundtree had 11 and Kevin Welch 10.
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Paducah Tilghman 25 38 55 76
Massac County 14 19 46 65
PADUCAH TILGHMAN - McEwen 14, Hawkins 1, Dunigan 5, Hart 6, Strayhorn 11, Warfield 15, Mayes, Davis 24.
Field goals 26/52. 3-pointers 7/15 (Strayhorn 3, Warfield 3, McEwen). Free throws 17/26. Record 10-7.
MASSAC COUNTY - Stoner 2, Blye 6, Rose 2, Mitchell 22, Welch 10, Roundtree 13, Walquist 9, Reinwald, Kendall 1.
Field goals 27/62. 3-pointers 1/17 (Mitchell). Free throws 10/17. Record 13-6.