INA -- Try as they might, the John A. Logan College men's basketball team could not compete inside the paint with the big men of Wabash Valley and was defeated by the Warriors Wednesday night, 86-84, in the semifinal round of the District 16 postseason tournament hosted by Rend Lake College in Ina.
The twin towers of 6-foot-10, 275-pound Levi Cook and 6-foot-8, 265-pound Amir Yusuf proved to be too much for the Volunteers to handle near the basket. Cook tallied 15 points while Yusuf added 12. And many of those points were on second-chance efforts.
Add in the ballhandling and shooting skills of Zion Morgan, who led Wabash Valley with 23 points, as well as worthy contributions from guards Josh Thomas (17) and Charles Wilson (11), and one could see that Logan had its hands full. With the loss, JALC falls to 27-5 and now can only hope it qualifies for the national tournament in Hutchison, Kansas as an at-large representative based on its high national ranking the biggest part of the season. The Warriors improved to 25-7 and will meet Kaskaskia, an upset winner over Vincennes, in the championship game tonight (Friday).
"It came down to stops and we just couldn't get it done," said Volunteers head coach Kyle Smithpeters. "You can't give up that many offensive rebounds. And the fouls hampered us in the first half, too (All-Conference and All-Region performers David Sloan and Jay Scrubb had to sit out several minutes with two fouls each). We did a great job of fighting back, but anytime you give up 86, you better be able to score a whole lot. And tonight, 84 wasn't enough."
Sophomore southpaw Vonnie Patterson paced the Logan offense with 25 points, including a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. Scrubb followed with 20 points. Sloan had a bit of an off night by his standards and finished with 19 points, but only four in the first half when his ballclub fell behind. Chris Harris added 12 points. Quamain Nelson chipped in six. Jonah Jackson, an ace of a shooter most of the season, failed to score, misfiring on all four 3-point attempts.
As a team, Logan converted 28-of-57 shots from the field (49 percent) and was 6-of-16 from beyond the arc. The Vols were also a stunning 22-of-25 from the free-throw line, but the Warriors were impressive, as well, knocking down 12-of-14 tosses. Moreover, they made 33-of-57 shots from the field, including 8-of-16 from long distance. Wabash also outrebounded the Vols, 29-20.
Logan won its quarterfinal round game Tuesday night, defeating Southwestern Illinois, 83-72.
Sloan, who was being scouted heavily this week by Kansas State University, finished with 15 points and was one of four other Vols to finish in double figures. The sophomore from Louisville, Ky. made some key free throws down the stretch to help the Vols get the win.
Logan found itself down 39-38 at halftime and trailed 45-40 after back-to-back 3-pointers from SWIC, but the Vols tied the game at 49 and then Sloan went to work.
His free throws, coupled with a Patterson bucket and a Jackson three ball capped off an 11-2 run by JALC, which never looked back, taking a 60-51 lead with 7:00 to play.
Scrubb, who played the entire game in foul trouble, had a team-high 18 points. Jackson also had 15 points, while Patterson tacked on 13 points and Nelson tossed in 12 points.
Harris scored seven points for Logan, while Mark Lancaster had a first-half 3-pointer.
• Harrisburg Daily Register Sports Editor Michael "Spyder" Dann contributed to this report.