First Stewart tied the game at 47-47 with 5:27 remaining in the
fourth quarter and then he tied the score at 49-49 with 3:24 on the
clock. Finally, he stepped to the free throw line with 11.5 seconds
left in the game and calmly sank two free throws to seal the 54-50
The win improved the Toppers record to 11-10 in front of a large
Tuesday night crowd.
Mount Pulaski's shooting was hot from the start in this one, a big
change from last Friday night's loss in Riverton. Brett Huff quickly
got the Toppers on the board with a three just seconds after tip-off
and Dalton Litterly also sank one from beyond the arc to put Mount
Pulaski up 6-0. Then it was Brett Huff nailing another trey to give
Mount Pulaski the 9-0 lead that forced Tri-City to call a timeout.
The Tornadoes came out of the huddle ready to do damage,
particularly Trever Martin, who went on a tear scoring the first
eight points for the blue and gold. Then back-to-back buckets by
Andrew Gordan and Devon Matthews put Tri-City on top 12-11 with 3:37
left to play in the first quarter.
The lead would bounce back and forth like a yo-yo for a couple
possessions until Martin made it 17-13 in favor of Tri-City with his
nice little acrobatic move to the basket that ended with an
underhanded roll up and over the rim and thru the net.
Finally Lukas Aylesworth showed off his own sweet finger-roll layup
to make it 17-15 and following a steal it was the ever-so-consistent
junior again with a jump shot that bounced in for two points and the
17-17 tie game. Both teams missed a chance to regain the lead in the
final minute of the quarter.
Back and forth to start the second quarter was the theme in this one
until Litterly spotted Taylor open in the paint and the senior
dumped the ball into the hands of the sophomore, who laid it in
nicely for the 25-24 Topper lead. The Toppers continued playing
smart basketball as Aylesworth pulled down the defensive rebound and
went full court towards the basket but at the last moment spotted
Litterly camped in the corner wide open for the three. As Aylesworth
dished the ball off to Litterly, the senior tossed it in, nothing
Gordan answered for Tri-City with a three that made it quite the
ballgame, 28-27 still the Toppers lead. A long two from Taylor would
put Mount Pulaski up 30-27 with just a minute to play before
Then it was the spark plug, Eli Griesheim, coming off the bench to
get the baseline jumper to bounce in and the Toppers could head to
the locker room with a 32-27 lead.
Luckily for Mount Pulaski they built up a little lead early in the
third quarter because the Tornadoes were about to get their second
wind. Steven Price connected for a couple threes midway thru the
third quarter and then it was Matthews tying the game at 40-40
around the 2:00 mark. Price had the hot hand for the Tornadoes in
the third quarter and his three with under a minute to go in the
quarter earned the lead back for Tri-City, 43-41. Mount Pulaski
missed their next attempt and so did Tri-City, however Charles
Mosley came flying in to get the offensive rebound and he put it
back up for his only points of the game and gave Tri-City the 45-41
lead at the third quarter buzzer.
Needless to say, Mount Pulaski Coach Ryan Deibert was not pleased
with his team's effort at the end of that quarter. They had eight
minutes left to turn things around and indeed they did. Taylor
showed that he could also rebound his own miss and put it back up
for two points, while Brett Huff also showed that he wanted to win
and his jumper with 5:55 remaining made the score 47-45, still in
favor of the Tornadoes. But Will Stewart was about to be the
game-changer. His nice head fake and patience under the basket
resulted in a move that tied the score at 47 -47 with 5:27 left to
After Price was fouled by Brett Huff and he sank his free throws,
Tri-City again had the lead. But it was Stewart's turn again and he
came thru under pressure with the bucket in the paint to tie the
game at 49-49 with 3:24 remaining.
[to top of second column]
A minute later, Taylor came thru big as well, with his basket and
one to break the tie. The three-point play that coaches on the
winning side love to see put Mount Pulaski up for good, 52-49.
However, Mount Pulaski was still not out of danger at this point. A
free throw by Martin made the score 52-50 with around two minutes
remaining. Then as Mount Pulaski was tossing the ball around to run
time off the clock, Brett Huff was called for his foot being out of
bounds with the ball in his hands. A close call for sure for the
With 33.5 seconds remaining Tri-City had possession and they went
for the win with 15 seconds left. A rushed shot led to an air ball
and Mount Pulaski had control of the ball again, no harm done after
Tri-City was forced to foul quickly and they chose Stewart, wrong
choice, but a good deal for the Toppers. Stewart stood at the line
with 11.5 seconds left and he easily sank, or made it look easy, the
bonus free throws. The four-point lead that resulted allowed the
crowd to breathe easier.
The final great play of the game belonged to Griesheim. A quick
steal by the lightning-fast junior caused the crowd to erupt in
applause and even though he missed the free throw with four seconds
left, it did not matter. Mount Pulaski walked away, having survived
the Tornadoes by a score of 54-50.
Taylor led Mount Pulaski with 21 points and Martin led Tri-City with
The Toppers are back in action Friday night for Senior Night versus
In the Junior Varsity game, Tri-City defeated Mount Pulaski 53-32.
Ben Fricke and Tanner Farris led Mount Pulaski with eight points
Toppers Varsity scoring
Brett Huff 8
Tornadoes Varsity scoring
Toppers Junior Varsity scoring
Tornadoes Junior Varsity scoring