SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
“That’s what saved us,” Manola said. “Our free-throw shooting was great tonight.”
“We tried to pick the ones we were gonna foul, and they made them,” Bulldogs coach Mark Tovey said. “They made four or six in a row with the guys we wanted to foul.”
Sophomore siblings Andrew and Zach Gardewine made things interesting by combining for 12 points in the final two minutes of play, but Schuette and Charlie Schultz fouled out during that span, and the Bulldogs simply could not overcome the Hornets’ clutch free-throw shooting and their own rough start.
“We set the table for ourselves early by sleepwalking through the whole first half,” Tovey said. “We had no energy and were making poor decisions. Turnovers weren’t that bad; we only had 11 for the game, but we had very poor decision making.”
Moore’s four first-quarter steals helped fuel Cowden-Herrick’s charge out of the gates, and the 6-foot-3 senior finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, right around his season averages.
The big contributions of Morgason (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Schoonover (18 points) helped push the Hornets over the top. Both came in averaging just under 10 ppg.
“A couple of them stepped up that we weren’t really planning on being scorers,” Tovey said. “Moore is a really good player, but the two other guys — Morgason and Schoonover had 18 apiece — that’s a tough load to have three guys do that.”
Manola lauded his entire team’s effort.
“We know how good Luke is,” Manola said. “But Ethan Schoonover’s stepping up, and also our sophomore, Colton Burrus. Tyson Morgason, too — they’re all coming through.”
The Hornets’ game plan was to spread the floor offensively to try to minimize the Bulldogs’ size advantage, and that plan worked to a T early on, as the Hornets hit 7 of 13 shots from the floor in a 21-point first quarter.