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Jr. Hornets Fall In Regional Championship

By Brent Huelsmann

Camden Ritzel shoots a fade away jumper during the Jr. Hornets 40-18 victory over Carlyle in the first round of SIJHSAA Class M Breese Regional.

After losing just one game in the regular season, and capturing a share of the JSWE Conference with DuQuoin, the Nashville Middle School boys basketball team’s season came to an end in the Regional Championship with a 44-32 loss to Breese on January 28. The Jr. Hornets ended the season with a 23-2 record.

The Jr. Hornets avenged their lone conference loss of the season on January 17 as they defeated DuQuoin 51-50 in overtime. Nashville held an early advantage as they outscored DuQuoin 14-12 in the first quarter, and held a 27-24 at halftime. In the second half, DuQuoin was able to make a run and take a 39-38 lead into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, both teams traded points, but the Jr. Hornets were able to tie the game and send it to overtime. In overtime, Nashville was able to come away with a one point victory.

Jaxon Goforth led Nashville with 19 points, followed by Cole Malawy with nine points. Camden Ritzel added eight points, while Gavin Baldwin scored six points. Preston Dagner scored four points in the win, and Bryce Donato rounded out the scoring with three points.

In the seventh grade game, the Jr. Hornets were able to come away with a 37-29 victory. Michael Combs led Nashville with 12 points, followed by Aaron Brink with seven points. Nolan Heggemeier scored five points, while Kolten Gajewski and Hayden Robinson scored four points apiece. Ian Blazier scored three points, and Saxton Hoepker scored two points.

In the final game of the regular season, the Jr. Hornets defeated Murphysboro 47-31 on January 23. The Jr. Hornets went up 14-4 after the first quarter, and put the game away in the second quarter, as they outscored Murphysboro 17-6. After the break, the Jr. Hornets were able to cruise to a sixteen point victory.

Baldwin led Nashville with 21 points in the win. Goforth added eight points, followed by Dagner and Donato with five points apiece. Malawy scored four points, while Ritzel scored three points. Blazier scored one point in the win.

The seventh grade team ended their season with a record of 21-1 after defeating Murphysboro 43-37. Combs led the Jr. Hornets with 15 points. Combs was joined in double figures by Heggemeier with 10 points. Lucas Knepp finished with six points, followed by Gajewski with four points. Blazier and Brink each finished with three points, and Robinson finished with two points in the win.

The Jr. Hornets began play in the SIJHSAA Class M Regional, which was held in Breese against Carlyle on January 26. The Jr. Hornets used a big first half, to go on to a 40-18 victory and end Carlyle’s season. The Jr. Hornets rushed out to a 15-6 lead after the first quarter, and held Carlyle scoreless in the second quarter. At halftime the Jr. Hornets led 25-6. In the second half, the Jr. Hornets were able to cruise to victory, and clinched a spot in the Regional Championship game.

Baldwin led Nashville with 12 points, as part of a balanced scoring attack. Goforth added eight points followed by Ritzel and Dagner with six points apiece. Malawy scored four points, and Donato and Luke Ehret each scored two points.

With the win over Carlyle, the Jr. Hornets clinched a spot in the Regional Championship against Breese. The Jr. Hornets defeated Breese 49-44 earlier in the season. In the rematch, Breese was able to exact revenge, as they defeated the Jr. Hornets 44-32.

In the first quarter, neither team would gain an advantage as the score would be tied at nine as the first quarter ended.In the second, Breese would take the lead as they outscored Nashville 8-2 in the frame and took a 17-11 lead into the locker room. In the third, the Bobcats continued to pad their lead, as they outscored Nashville 10-5 in the third quarter. In the fourth, Breese was able to hold on for a twelve point victory.

Baldwin led Nashville with 11 points, followed by Goforth with nine points. Ritzel scored eight points in the loss while Dagner and Malawy each scored two points.

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