Central A & M hands Mount Pulaski an 82-58 loss in the Bill Rucks Tournament

Send a link to a friend  Share

[November 26, 2016]  The Bill Rucks Tournament resumed for the Mount Pulaski Hilltoppers Wednesday night with the home team taking on the Central A & M Raiders. Mount Pulaski managed to put together three quarters of really good ball, but failing to finish off the final eight minutes of the game was the downfall of the Hilltoppers and they fell 82-58 to the team made up of players from Assumption and Moweaqua.

This one was off to a quick start, with both teams playing a first half of fast-paced basketball. Seconds after tip-off, Gezus Oliver scored the first of his 21 points and he would quickly set a pace that the rest of the team followed. However, for Central A & M freshman Connor Heaton had no trouble keeping up with Oliver and he scored nine of his 21 points in the first quarter. The Raiders pulled out to an early 9-4 lead but the Hilltoppers managed to tie the score at 14-14 on Eli Griesheim’s layup at the 3:07 mark. Central A & M quickly got the lead back on a three by Heaton and held onto that lead until the end of the first quarter. Peyton Taylor would make a nice move near the end of the quarter resulting in two points and in fact, he dropped in six first quarter points, all coming on some pretty impressive moves in the paint. Meanwhile, the Raiders would narrowly miss a half court shot at the buzzer but still maintain a 20-18 first quarter lead over the Hilltoppers.

Both teams were running and gunning in the second quarter, with Jameson Smith hitting his first three of the game and for Mount Pulaski Brandon Kretzinger was doing the same. But it was Oliver really catching fire for Mount Pulaski in the second quarter. Oliver scored 12 points the eight minutes here and it was his back to back threes that boosted the Hilltoppers at a 27-25 lead at the 4:12 mark. Buckets by Eli Olson and Taylor allowed the Hilltoppers to maintain a slim lead, 31-28, then Oliver and Trevor Hayes knocked down four free throws and kept the lead intact, 35-30. All the while, the Raiders were knocking threes down and refusing to even shoot the ball inside the perimeter for a stretch. Oliver would get a loud round of applause when he decided to stop and pop a sweet jumper with 1:50 left to play in the first half and give Mount Pulaski their biggest lead, 37-30. Central A & M answered back with buckets and it would have to be Oliver again keeping Mount Pulaski in this one. His layup with :30 seconds left gave Mount Pulaski a 39-35 halftime lead and a much needed breather heading into the locker room. Mount Pulaski, led by Oliver’s 16 first half points, did all this with senior Lukas Aylesworth spending most of his time on the bench after two quick fouls to start the game.

[to top of second column]

As what often happens in the locker room at half when a team the caliber of Central A & M is down, that team emerges from the locker room energized and refocused. No one was more energized than Smith, who scored 10 of his 20 points in the third quarter and led the charge back. The Raiders went on a 13-4 run over the Hilltoppers in the first four minutes of the third quarter and took back the lead, 48-43. A smooth turnaround jumper by Aylesworth, who was fouled and got the “and one” kept Mount Pulaski in the game, though, 48-46 the score. Around the two minute mark Central A & M began to pull further away and this would be just the beginning of the end for Mount Pulaski’s night. At the end of the third quarter the Raiders lead was 55-48.

Things quickly unraveled for the Hilltoppers in the fourth quarter and Central A & M went on a tear. With less than three minutes played into the fourth quarter, the Raiders had a 20 point lead, 69-49. You could say things escalated quickly, without a doubt. Central A & M would finish off the game in quick fashion and after the results were tallied, the Raiders had hit 12 threes on the night and nailed 12 of 15 shots at the free throw line, which all contributed to an 82-58 victory over the hosts. Heaton and Smith led the Raiders with 21 and 20 points respectively and Oliver and Taylor led Mount Pulaski with 21 and 13 points respectively. Taylor also pulled down 13 boards for the Hilltoppers. A dagger in the hearts of the Hilltoppers had to be this staggering stat: 29 turnovers. That is all. Happy Thanksgiving.

Mount Pulaski scoring

Oliver 21
Taylor 13
Aylesworth 7
Griesheim 4
Hayes 4
Kretzinger 3
Farris 2
Drake 2
Olson 2

Central A & M scoring

Heaton 21
Smith 20
Reed 12
Garner 11
Sloan 9
Paradee 3
Paradee 3
Black 2

[Teena Lowery]

Back to top