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CHT boys: Staunton opens with win, Bunker Hill can’t defend early lead

Kolten Costello, pictured during a pool play game against Litchfield at the Carlinville Holiday Tournament Dec. 26, made two clutch free throws in the closing seconds of a Dec. 22 non-conference match against Pawnee Dec. 22. The Cavaliers beat the Indians, 40-39, then lost to Litchfield, 60-39. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Jackson Wilson.


Gillespie falls to EAWR, Carlinville struggles against Litchfield

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

The Staunton boys’ basketball team opened the 56th Carlinville Holiday Tournament with a solid showing against Calhoun Dec. 26.

In a rematch of last year’s seventh place game, the Bulldogs proved that they were aiming for a much higher result.

Behind a 27-point masterpiece courtesy of Braden Buffington, fourth-seeded Staunton cruised to a convincing 55-39 victory and leveled its overall record to 5-5.

Brady Gillen provided strong support for Buffington with 15 points, which all came on made field goals from beyond the arc.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 17-6 lead over the Warriors in the first quarter and widened the gap to 39-15 at the half.

Staunton was the only county team that celebrated a win on day one of the tournament. Bunker Hill couldn’t make an early lead stick, while Gillespie and Carlinville were overpowered by two of this year’s title contenders.

Hillsboro 57, Bunker Hill 50

No. 7 Bunker Hill led for the entire first half and was ahead by as many as eight points, but didn’t have enough fuel in the tank to outlast No. 2 Hillsboro for an upset win.

The Hiltoppers flipped a 25-24 halftime deficit to a 38-33 lead at the conclusion of the third and remained ahead of the Minutemen the rest of the way.

Grant Burch poured in 27 points on five triples for Bunker Hill in defeat. Will Manar added 10 tallies.

The Minutemen fell to 2-7 overall.

East Alton Wood River 75, Gillespie 52

Sixth-seeded Gillespie managed to hang with No. 3 East Alton Wood River for three quarters, but ultimately collapsed down the stretch and coughed up 28 tallies in the final eight minutes.

The Oilers went into battle fully-equipped with speed and consistent firepower at mutiple positions. Three players were in double figures, including Devon Green. The junior point guard led all scorers with 25 points while dishing out 12 assists.

Seth Slayden and Lucas Moore additionally gave the Miners fits. Slayden dropped 19 tallies and Gerber chalked up 16 points.

Gillespie, which trailed by six at the half and at the start of the fourth quarter, was led offensively by Bryce Buhs and Tristan Wargo, who both hit a trio of triples. Buhs poured in 15 points and Wargo added nine.

The Miners are 2-6 on the year.

Litchfield 60, Carlinville 39

Turnovers had been a glaring issue for Carlinville in the early stages of the season and they once again plagued the Cavaliers in a lopsided battle against top-seeded Litchfield.

The Purple Panthers forced 25 miscues and rolled CHS, 60-39.

Carlinville stayed in the game briefly at the start, but Litchfield unleashed a 20-8 second quarter stun and transformed a slim 14-10 lead into a commanding 34-18 advantage heading into the break.

Keenan Powell torched the Cavaliers with 30 points and was one of two Panthers to bury four long-range shots. A.J. Odle, who was starting in place of Litchfield’s injured point guard Victor McGill, also found the bottom of the net on a quartet of threes for 16 points during the game.

Ryenn Hart put up nine points for Carlinville. Noah Convery added eight tallies off the bench.

The Cavaliers, who previously held off Pawnee in a 40-39 nailbiter Dec. 22, are 3-9 overall.