JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Stew-Stras has had its ups and downs this year, while Cowden-Herrick has done pretty good for itself. After a Christmas break Cowden-Herrick lost a game they should have won and won a game they were suppose to win.
On Friday, they traveled to Stew-Stras and were in good position to get a win. Stew-Stras had other plans. After an early Hornet run, the Comets took control of the game and coasted to an easy, 56-40, victory.
Cowden-Herrick had averaged 60 points per game this season, but the Comet defense held them to just 40 points and didn't allow the Hornets to get to the free throw line even once.
Luke Moore, C-H's 1000-point scorer, was held to just 10 points, while the Comets leading scorer, big man Justin Fulk, scored a game-high 25. Fulk out-scored the Hornets' two top scorers (Moore, Ethan Schoonover) in the game, combined. Fulk was joined by two teammates in double figures, Brandon Helmuth and Jason Becker.
The Hornets started hot, getting five scores from five different players, including a trio of treys. Stew-Stras got 7 of Hemuth's 10 points in the 1st period, a solo down payment from Fulk and trailed 13-9.
After the good start, the Hornets were stymied in the 2nd. Becker was unleashed and out-scored the Hornets by himself. Becker scored four times, for 8 of his 12 in the 2nd. Ben Helton scored twice, Fulk had another deuce, and Bryse Bugger was 1-of-2 at the stripe, as part of the 15-6 Comet run.
C-H got just three solo twos and, after leading by four at the start of the 2nd, Stew-Stras led by five at the break, 24-19.
The two teams' leaders, Moore and Fulk, hadn't really gotten going. Moore still had just two points at the break and Fulk four points. They both got going in the 3rd.
Moore scored three times and Fulk scored four times, including converting a 3-point play. Fulk had 9 of his 25 in the 3rd and Moore 6 of his 10. Three other Comets scored in the 3rd, While Caleb Heiserman had his third deuces and Schoonover had his second trey and a deuce, for 5 of his 10 in the 3rd.
The two teams scored 28 points combined in the period and Stew-Stras upped their lead to seven points, 39-32.
The game was a long way from over with 8:00 to play, but the Hornets, who still hadn't been to the line, would have to shake loose. They couldn't. They scored just eight points on four solo buckets.
Stew-Stras put the game away, as Fulk became the go-to guy and boy did he go. The Hornets had no answer for him. He scored three times from the floor, including another 3-point play. He split a pair at the line, scored two more times and accounted for 12 of the Comets 17 points down the stretch. Helmuth added a trey and Becker another two for the 16-point margin of victory.
It was a remarkably clean game, as only 11 free throws were shot in the entire game, all by the Comets. Stew-Stras was 6-of-11. Cowden-Herrick had two more treys, but it wasn't enough.
The Comets shot an amazing 61% from 2-point range. Despite shooting just 18% from the arc, they still salvaged a 51% shooting percentage, overall. Fulk shot 64%, Becker 60%, Helton 67%, and Roley 50%. The Hornets shot just 35% from the field, including just 21% from the arc.
Stew-Stras 56, Cowden-Herrick 40
Stew stats: Fulk 25 (11 FGs, 3/6 FTs), Becker 12 (6 FGs), Helmuth 10 (1-2, 2-3 pt FGs, 2/3 FTs), Helton 4 (2 FGs), Roley 2 (FG), Fry 2 (FG), Bugger 1 (1/2 FTs). Team FGs 24. 3-Pointers: 2 (Helmuth). Team FTs 6-of-11.
C-H stats: Moore 10 (5 FGs), Schoonover 10 (2-2s, 2-3 pt FGs), Heiserman 6 (3 FGs), Barnes 5 (1-2, 1-3 pt FGs), Morgason 5 (1-2, 1-3 pt FGs), Burrus 2 (FG), Black 2 (FG). Team FGs 18. 3-Pointers: 4 (Schoonover 2, Barnes, Morgason). Team FTs 0-of-0.