Entering this past weekend’s Class 1, District 11 Tournament with 20 wins, it appeared the Community R-VI boys basketball team would run away with a back-to-back championship.
After all, they had just defeated two below .500 teams by at least 35 points and were set to face a 14-12 North Shelby squad in the finals.
The Raiders didn’t make things easy for the Trojans.
Both teams exchanged baskets early before North Shelby made a 6-0 run to take a 13-9 first quarter lead.
With 2:47 left in the first half, Anthony Fairchild scored his only points of the game on a 3-pointer to tie things at 20.
The Raiders responded with a 7-0 run and scored a basket at the buzzer to enter halftime up 29-22.
While Trojans fans were a little nervous for their team at the start of the third quarter, Community R-VI’s seniors faced the adversity head on.
The Trojans opened the second half by forcing four turnovers, sparking an 8-0 run.
Connor Brooks picked up a steal and converted it for two points to put the Trojans back ahead by one.
Clay Thebeau’s late 3-point play gave Community R-VI a 35-32 lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Trojans’ offense dribbled a lot of time off the clock while taking advantage of some scoring opportunities.
Clay Thebeau scored eight of his 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Lane Thebeau added nine points in the frame to pace Community R-VI to a 54-44 victory.
“That’s the way they’ve been their whole career,” said Community R-VI head boys basketball coach Kenneth Jett about his seniors and their resolve.
“We really picked up our defense in the second half.”
The Trojans shot 41% from the field and made 12-of-17 free throws in the win. Their defense forced 15 turnovers and forced North Shelby to be just 37% from the field.
Lane Thebeau scored a game-high 18 points, three steals, and two rebounds while Clay Thebeau finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, five steals, and four assists.
Connor Brooks tallied 14 points, four steals, and three rebounds; Kyle Curtis had seven rebounds; and Fairchild scored three points and one assist.
The Trojans took on Meadville after press time in the State Sectionals for a rematch of the previous year’s State Quarterfinals.
If they win, the Trojans will play the winner of Glasgow and Tuscumbia at 6 p.m. on March 7 at Salisbury High School.
Semifinals win over Bevier
In the semifinals, the Trojans jumped out to a 21-12 first quarter lead and were up 21 points at halftime.
Community R-VI’s offense continued to make a push in the fourth quarter as they cruised to a 65-30 victory.
Both Lane Thebeau and Arens had 18 points and eight rebounds.
In the first round, the Trojans jumped out to a 21-6 first quarter lead and never looked back in a 66-29 win.
Community R-VI was up 39-14 at halftime before outscoring Atlanta 27-15 in the final two quarters.
“We played good defense,” Jett said. “(We) rebounded well. (We) opened a lead early (and had a) good start to district play.”
Brooks made 3-of-6 3-pointers for 20 points.
Lane Thebeau had 11 points and two assists; Clay Thebeau added 10 points; Curtis tallied six points and seven rebounds; Fairchild had five points; Gage Graves scored three points; while Cordell Hollensteiner, Gatlin Curtis, and Arens each scored two points.