By Colleen Lehmann
The East Prairie Hornets boys basketball teams went into the Junior High Okaw Conference Tournament as a number-two seed behind host Okaw Valley, and easily survived the first round of play on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. Both teams will play again on Tuesday, Jan. 14—the seventh grade at 6 p.m. and eighth grade at 7:30 p.m. at Okaw Valley Middle School.
•EP 8th 44, Bement 12
There was only one Tuscola game on Jan. 11, as the Hornets seventh-grade boys basketball team earned a victory over seventh-seed Bement without ever taking the floor, via forfeit. When the elder Hornets squared off against Bement they didn’t encounter much resistance either, posting a 44-12 win.
Tyler Meinhold connected on four of nine treys and one of three field goals to lead Tuscola scorers with 14, and was also second in rebounds with four. Next up was Kevin Miller with seven points, a team-leading six rebounds, and two steals. Jacob Craddock made his presence known with six points, three rebounds, and four steals.
A trio of Hornets—Caleb Arends, Dalton Hoel, and Cale Sementi—had four points. Hoel also contributed six steals, three assists, and two rebounds; Arends had a steal; and Sementi grabbed a rebound. Dalton Conner entered the books with three points, two steals and a board; Caleb Stumeier kicked in with a bucket; and Dakota Denny had two steals and a rebound in the easy win.
Earlier in the week on Jan. 9, the Hornets traveled to Champaign to take on St. Matthews. The seventh-grade team came home with a victory, while the eighth grade was not able to defeat their hosts.
•EP 7th 38, St. Matthews 25
The Hornets were large and in charge right from the beginning against St. Matthews, jumping out to a 24-16 lead at halftime and ending the contest with a 38-25 victory. Cade Kresin led the charge with 14 points, two rebounds and assist, and two steals. Another double-digit contributor was Luke Sluder, pumping in 10 points, one rebound, three assists, and a steal.
Haden Cothron kept busy by making three buckets, grabbing three boards and two steals, and dishing out one assist. Turner Hastings was good for four points, two rebounds and a swipe; Brayden VonLanken had two points and two rebounds; and Noah Woods had two points and one board. Will Little had two each in the rebound and steal categories, and C.J. Picazo grabbed a board.
•St. Matthew 38, EP 8th 26
The score of the eighth-grade game was almost identical to the opener, but this time Tuscola was on the losing end, by a 38-26 count. Dalton Hoel and Tyler Meinhold each had nine points, Hoel also leading the team in steals with five, while Meinhold had two rebounds as well.
The rest of the scoring came in the form of two points each from Caleb Arends, Caleb Stumeier, Jacob Craddock (two rebounds, one steal), and Kevin Miller (one rebound, one steal). Dakota Denny had three rebounds, and Dalton Conner grabbed a board.