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Carbondale topples Tornado for Superman crown

By Jon Futrell jfutrell@paducahsun.com

METROPOLIS, Ill. - Paducah Tilghman seemed to have another big night from behind the arc with eight 3-pointers in Saturday night's championship game of the Superman Classic.

However, all that came from 32 attempts from long distance. The Tornado hit just over a third of their inside shots and were 2-for-8 from the foul line. Carbondale, the tournament's top seed, fared far better from the field as it won the crown 72-44.

Tilghman was coming off an 85-81 overtime win over Meridian in Friday's semifinal. That alone was not enough to stop the Tornado in the eyes of coach Brad Stieg.

"It certainly didn't help," Stieg said of Friday's wear and tear. "It was an emotional victory and a hard-fought game. It's a combination of that and Carbondale. They are an excellent basketball team."

That was readily apparent in the third quarter. The Terriers were up by 11 at the half, but built on that by scoring the first 10 points of the third. Allen Billinger started the scoring by completing a 3-point play. Shamarc Bursey stole the ball from Tilghman and ran down the middle of the court going for the layup. It missed, but Billinger was close behind for the putback and a 43-25 lead.

By the time the third-quarter horn sounded, Carbondale was up 54-31 and Tilghman was all but out of it. It was a far cry from the second quarter, where the Tornado kept pace with the Terriers 15-all. Jesse Dunigan came off the bench to play a big part. He sank three 3-pointers to get the Tornado within six. Dunigan led the Tilghman offense with 11 points.

Jordan Kelly also played a big part in the second frame for the Terriers. The 6-foot-6 junior was not content to just stand under the basket. He hit several jumpers to keep Tilghman from getting too close. He finished the night with 16 points.

Lavante Sutten hit a trio of 3-pointers to lead Carbondale with 17 points. Billinger finished with 13 points and Devontavious Payne ended up with 10; six of those in the first minute of the game.

Sayveon McEwen and Andre Strayhorn made the All-Tournament from the Tornado, whose performance was satisfying for Stieg.

"I'm proud of the kids," Stieg said. "To beat Massac, Meridian and battle Carbondale, this was a great week for us. This was a very tough tournament and a really strong field."

â “â “â “

Paducah Tilghman 10 25 31 44

Carbondale 21 36 54 72

TILGHMAN - McEwen 7, Hawkins, Dunigan 11, Hart 2, Strayhorn 8, Armstrong, Prather, Warfield 3, Mayes, Belt 9, Davis 4.

Field goals 17/58. 3-pointers 8/32 (Dunigan 3, Strayhorn 2, Belt, McEwen, Warfield). Free throws 2/8. Record 11-8.

CARBONDALE - Billinger 13, Ousley, Payne 10, Lark, Bursey 8, Bidinger 6, McCauley 2, Kelly 16, Day, Sutten 17.

Field goals 30/60. 3-pointers 6/13 (Sutten 3, Bidinger 2, Payne). Free throws 6/9. Record 15-2.

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