Drew Martin (35) goes up for two points in the fourth quarter of the sectional championship game Wednesday night at the Bob Gasaway Gymnasium. Martin led Mount Pulaski with 23 points as the Bruins put up a monumental effort against Decatur Robertson, falling by a score of 50-44.


Mount Pulaski Bruins
fall to Decatur Robertson in 7-2A Sectional Championship

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[February 04, 2016]  Mount Pulaski fell 50-44 to Decatur Robertson for the Boys 7-2A Sectional Championship game Wednesday night.

The fans could not have asked for a more hard-fought battle from the boys, who were up against a much larger and often quicker opponent.

The game was off to a very fast start after the Wildcats won the tip. Kevion Brown and Takailion Terry scored the first two buckets for Decatur Robertson, both layups.

But then it was Evan Cooper dishing off the nice pass to Drew Martin flying thru the lane and he put the ball thru the hoop for Mount Pulaski's first points of the night. Taking turns the next time down the court, Martin found Cooper hanging around in the corner wide open and he dished the ball off to the fifth-grader, who tied the game 4-4 with 4:55 on the clock.

The game was moving very fast up and down the court for both teams early and within twenty seconds, Mount Pulaski had the ball back and a chance to take the lead. Indeed they did, thanks to the 5'10 Martin. His two in the paint gave the Mount Pulaski crowd something to roar about, 6-4 in favor of the visiting blue Bruins.

Next up Quay Smith hit a three for the Wildcats from one corner and then seconds later he set himself ready in the other corner and connected again for the three. This would give Decatur Robertson a 10-6 lead, with all of this action taking place within the first two minutes of play.

Mount Pulaski came storming back though with the combination of Martin and Cooper. While the Wildcats surrounded Martin with two and sometimes three players, Cooper was left alone by the basket and he was able to swish his second bucket of the quarter on the assist from Martin. Then it was all Martin in the middle taking it up strong to tie the game, 10-10 at the 2:40 mark.

But then the Bruins hit a dry spell and could not buy a basket the rest of the quarter while the Wildcats went on an 8-0 run.

It could have been more but Martin was responsible for at least two blocks that put a damper on the Wildcats scoring opportunities. It's worth mentioning that Martin has very good timing and can read his opponent very well when it comes to blocking shots. Nonetheless though as the first quarter came to a close, the Wildcats had a comfortable 18-10 lead over the Bruins.

The second quarter began just as quickly as the first quarter, but there were a lot more turnovers and mistakes by both teams that led to only Mount Pulaski getting in the scoring column within the first two minutes of action.

With the score 18-12 Martin was at it again blocking guys left and right. His monster block at the 4:16 mark really fired up the packed crowd of Bruin fans.

The excitement may have even ignited a spark under the Wildcats' Smith, although he did not need much to catch fire. He had already scored ten first quarter points and he was on the way to scoring eight points in the second quarter to lead the way for the Wildcats. In fact, with a steal and a basket by Smith at the 2:20 mark, Decatur Robertson had stretched the lead to 26-16.

Mount Pulaski's own spark plug from the sixth grade, Lane Murphy, drained his first three here to close the gap a little. Smith answered back with his own trey to keep the Bruins at a distance.

Just near the end of the second quarter, Martin would go to the free throw line to sink two baskets and Mount Pulaski headed to the locker room down but not out with the score 29-21.

Exiting the locker room the Bruins looked focused and ready to play ball, and with that attitude they took to the court and played long ball. First it was Grant Davis, the other seventh grader in the starting lineup, draining a three and then Murphy really got the team and the fans pumped up with his trey that edged Mount Pulaski closer, 29-27 the score, in favor of the Wildcats.

Following a basket by Decatur Robertson's Brown, the score rested at 31-27 for a while. Play got a little sloppy here with a mix of turnovers and a few bad passes for everyone. Finally Omarion Slaw scored back-to-back baskets for Decatur Robertson and the Wildcats were still in command, 35-27.

But sometimes things can change quickly and with that, the command fell back on the shoulders of Mount Pulaski's Martin. He ran off the next five points for Mount Pulaski, with some free throws involved.

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The Bruins hopes were alive and well with the score 35-32 at the close of the third quarter.

Martin kept those hopes alive with a basket to start the fourth quarter and with the score 35-34 the crowd was on the edge of their seats. Not to mention the gym was rocking with thunderous applause every time a point was scored.

A large crowd from Decatur Robertson also came in support of their team and as Brown scored two points, the Wildcat fans erupted in applause.

With 3:22 left to play it was Aiden Schneider's turn for the spotlight and he came up big with the basket in the paint to keep Mount Pulaski within reach of a victory, 37-36.

But a great defensive game by Decatur Robertson and the ability to penetrate the lane and dish off to the open man on offense worked well for the home team on this night. That home team being the Wildcats, who ran off six quick unanswered points in under a minute and literally in the blink of an eye they were back on top 43-36.

Schneider was able to get another basket to fall for Mount Pulaski and the game was still well within reach 43-38 with 1:32 left to play. Thirty seconds later, Murphy launched one from downtown and he made the score 44-41, Wildcats lead. The two teams both had opportunities at the free throw line in the coming seconds, with each team only sinking one to keep the score close, 45-42 with the ball in Mount Pulaski's possession.

With just under :40 to play the chance was there for the Bruins and they just missed it. Not that they didn't give it their best. Cooper missed a shot and then Murphy fouled Smith for his fifth foul of the game. Smith went on to make both shots to extend the lead, 47-42.

Then Martin was fouled on his way to the basket. He missed the shot but sank two free throws to make the score 47-44. More fouls ensued. Again Smith sank both shots from the charity stripe, giving him 27 points on the night and giving his team the 49-44 advantage with time running out for the Bruins.

One last effort by Martin from long distance fell way off the mark and again the ball landed in the hands of the Wildcats. Another quick foul here by the Bruins to stop the clock and Xavier Young tossed in the final free throw for Decatur Robertson with just 1.1 second on the clock.

The final score was 50-44 and the Sectional Championship plaque was presented to the Decatur Robertson Charter School Wildcats. The Wildcats earn a trip to the 7-2A state tournament this Saturday at Clinton.

The Mount Pulaski Bruins ended their spectacular season with 19 wins and 5 losses. Congratulations to the Bruins on a fine season and good luck to the Wildcats.

Bruins scoring

Drew Martin 23
Lane Murphy 9
Evan Cooper 4
Grant Davis 4
Aiden Schneider 4

Wildcats scoring

Quay Smith 27
Kevion Brown 9
Omarion Slaw 6
Xavier Young 4
Takailion Terry 2
Terron Reed 2

[Teena Lowery]

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