Redskins Go 2-2 In Return To Vandalia

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It’s been a while since the Nokomis boys basketball team has been at the Vandalia Holiday Tournament, which tipped off on Monday, Dec. 27. 

The Redskins have some history at the 49-year-old event, with names like Mark Franzen, Greg Parsons, Carl Alexander, Steve Gonet, Greg Archibald, Scott Keele, Mike Meiners and Bret Tuetken dotting the early all-tournament team lists.

But the last mention of the Nokomis boys in the Vandalia tournament history page is a win over Lincolnwood in the 1984 second consolation championship and by 1986, the Redskins had begun their dominance of the now-defunct Mohawk Classic, where they won 27 of the 34 tournaments they participated in, winning 115 out of their 124 games.

Hoping to start a new tradition of success, Nokomis hit the floor for four games in three days in Fayette County and went 2-2 in a deep field.

Entering the tournament, the Redskins were the sixth seed overall, with their first contest coming against the second seeded Pana Panthers, who will play Nokomis again on Jan. 13. With just one loss on their record this season, Pana picked off the Redskins by a 58-46 margin in the opening game for both teams.

The Panthers were consistent from the outset, posting quarters of 15, 15, 15 and 13 and spreading around the points. Devon Peebles finished with 21 to lead all scorers, but teammates Brenden Schoonover and Colin Schmitz added 15 and 13 respectively.

Nokomis outscored the Panthers 23-13 in the final frame, getting eight points from Ryan Eisenbarth and six points from Cooper Bertolino, but Pana won the other three frames, leading 15-10 after one, 30-18 after two and 45-23 after three.

Elijah Aumann finished with 19 to lead Nokomis, with 14 of those coming in the first half. Eisenbarth added in 10 points for the Redskins, while Nolan Himes (8), Bertolino (6) and Mason Stauder (3) also contributed points.

Flora

The Redskins would be the lower seed in their second game at Vandalia as well as they faced off against third seeded Flora on Dec. 28. This time, Nokomis staked themselves to a first half lead and held on for a 46-41 upset victory.

The Redskins trailed only once, for the first two minutes of the game, but the contest was far from decided until the final moments. Elijah Aumann scored seven points and Jake Johnson added four in the opening eight minutes to boost Nokomis, who led 11-7 after one.

The Redskins stretched the lead out to eight in the first 90 seconds of the second quarter, getting a pair of free throws from Aumann and Johnson’s fifth and sixth points of the game.

Flora was ice cold from the field in the frame and was held to just five points as the Redskins maintained their eight-point lead for much of the quarter and led 20-12 at halftime.

The Wolves would rebound with a solid third quarter, scoring 11 points, but Nokomis answered with 12 of their own as Aumann continued to pour in the points. With quick hands and an eye for the basket, the junior guard turned steals into points as he finished the third quarter with 18 total points.

Flora got the lead down to five at one point on a three by Holden Warren, but Cooper Bertolino answered with a three of his own and Aumann scored five in the final 2:20 of the quarter to make it 32-23 with one quarter to play.

Usually, that would be enough for the Redskins, but the Wolves weren’t ready to go quietly. After being held without a three in the first three quarters, Trenton Harrell, a Sam Perkins-esqe 6’3” shooter, hit a pair of treys to cut the lead down to three points with 2:03 to go.

The Redskins wouldn’t hit a field goal after that point, but went 6-for-8 from the free-throw line and held Flora to just four points in the span to preserve the win.

Aumann hit three of those charity tosses and finished with 23 for the game. Jake Johnson and Cooper Bertolino finished with eight and seven respectively, while Reece Lohman (6) and Ryan Eisenbarth (2) rounded out the scoring.

Father McGivney

While Aumann had been the star on offense the first two games with 42 points, he shared the spotlight in the Redskins’ 66-47 win over Father McGivney on Wednesday, Dec. 29, the first of two games that day.

Aumann finished with 19 points, but shared the team lead with Jake Johnson, who exploded for 11 more points than his average entering the game. Cooper Bertolino was just behind his two teammates with 18 points, hitting two threes and going 6-for-8 from the free-throw line.

Johnson would have the hot hand in the first quarter as he scored 10 points as Nokomis led 18-12 after one. Aumann scored just two in the first quarter, but scored 11 in the second quarter to help Nokomis open up a 36-24 lead at halftime.

It was Bertolino’s turn in the third quarter to lead the way as he added five points to his total, giving him 13 through three quarters. Nokomis entered the fourth with a 51-34 lead, which grew by two by the final horn as the Redskins swept the Griffins, winning all four quarters.

In addition to the big three, Nokomis also got six from Ryan Eisenbarth and two each from Ian Keller and Reece Lohman.

Shelbyville

After beating the third and eighth seeds in pool play, Nokomis’ final test was ninth seeded Shelbyville, who had already beaten McGivney and gave Flora a run in their previous contests. The game turned into a three-point showdown, with the Rams scoring a narrow 7-6 edge from behind the arc to escape with a 54-50 victory.

Nokomis had two of their threes in the first quarter as Elijah Aumann and Cooper Bertolino both hit treys. The Rams only hit one triple, but held a 12-10 lead after eight minutes.

The Redskins would erase that margin in the second quarter, getting nine points from Bertolino, who added two more threes to the score sheet. Nokomis would outscore the Rams 13-11 in the quarter to make it 23-23 at the end of the first half.

Shelbyville would stop Bertolino’s long range attack in the third, but Nokomis countered with seven points from Elijah Aumann and seven more from the combo of Jake Johnson (4) and Ryan Eisenbarth (3). On offense, the Rams hit two threes and got six points from Hayden Koonce as they took a slim 39-37 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Koonce would prove to be the difference maker in the fourth as he hit three three-pointers to up his total to 23 points for the game. Shelbyville had trouble from the free-throw line, missing eight of their 12 attempts in the fourth quarter, but were able to hold on for the four-point win.

Bertolino, who added another three and eight points in the fourth quarter, finished the game with a team-high of 20. Elijah Aumann added 14 points, while Ryan Eisenbarth chipped in seven. Jake Johnson and Reece Lohman finished out the scoring with five and four as Nokomis moved to 2-2 in pool play.Flora and Shelbyville also finished 2-2 in pool play, meaning that a three-way tie had to be broken by free-throw percentage. Shelbyville earned the top spot and will play for third, while Nokomis was second and will play Vandalia for fifth at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30.

December 29 at Vandalia

Vandalia Holiday Tournament

Nokomis 10 13 14 13 50

Shelbyville 12 11 16 15 54

Nokomis (50) - Cooper Bertolino 20, Elijah Aumann 14, Ryan Eisenbarth 7, Jake Johnson 5 Reece Lohman 4. Totals: 13 18-30 50.

Shelbyville (54) - Hayden Koonce 23, Brody Boehm 14, Drake McDonald 9, Ethan Wells 6, Max Beyers 2. Totals: 18 11-21 54.

Three-point field goals: Nokomis 6 (Bertolino 4, Aumann 2); Shelbyville 7 (Koonce 4, Wells 2, McDonald 1).

Records: Nokomis (7-6); Shelbyville (4-9).

December 27 at Vandalia

Vandalia Holiday Tournament

Nokomis 10 8 5 23 46

Pana 15 15 15 13 58

Nokomis (46) - Elijah Aumann 19, Ryan Eisenbarth 10, Nolan Himes 8, Cooper Bertolino 6, Mason Stauder 3. Totals: 19 4-8 46.

Pana (58) - Devon Peebles 21, Brenden Schoonover 15, Colin Schmitz 13, Drew Hackler 6, Kyle Kuhn 2, Evan Hudlin 1. Totals: 22 10-13 58.

Three-point field goals: Nokomis  4 (Eisenbarth 2, Stauder 1, Aumann 1); Pana 4 (Peebles 3, Schmitz 1).

December 28 at Vandalia

Vandalia Holiday Tournament

Nokomis 11 9 12 14 46

Flora 7 5 11 18 41

Nokomis (46) - Elijah Aumann 23, Jake Johnson 8, Cooper Bertolino 7, Reece Lohman 6, Ryan Eisenbarth 2. Totals: 13 17-24 46.

Flora (41) - Holden Warren 11, Cole Young 11, Trenton Harrell 10, Malachi Tolliver 5, Neil Young 4. Totals: 16 5-8 41.

Three-point field goals: Nokomis 3 (Bertolino 2), Aumann 1); Flora 4 (Harrell 2, C. Young 1 Warren 1).

December 29 at Vandalia

Vandalia Holiday Tournament

Nokomis 18 18 15 15 66

Fr. McGivney 12 12 10 13 47

Nokomis (66) - Elijah Aumann 19, Jake Johnson 19, Cooper Bertolino 18, Ryan Eisenbarth 6, Ian Keller 2, Reece Lohman 2. Totals: 24 15-23 66.

Father McGivney (47) - Jackson Rodgers 16, Jacob Huber 6, Evan Schrage 6, Darren Luchetti 4, Gabe Smith 4, Braden Reichmann 3, Mason Holmes 3, Nick Franklin 2, Ryker Keller 2, Noah Garner 1. Totals

Three-point field goals: Nokomis 3 (Bertolino 2, Aumann 1); Father McGivney 6 (Huber 2, Rodgers 1, Schrage 1, Holmes 1, Reichmann 1).

December 29 at Vandalia

Vandalia Holiday Tournament

Nokomis 10 13 14 13 50

Shelbyville 12 11 16 15 54

Nokomis (50) - Cooper Bertolino 20, Elijah Aumann 14, Ryan Eisenbarth 7, Jake Johnson 5 Reece Lohman 4. Totals: 13 18-30 50.

Shelbyville (54) - Hayden Koonce 23, Brody Boehm 14, Drake McDonald 9, Ethan Wells 6, Max Beyers 2. Totals: 18 11-21 54.

Three-point field goals: Nokomis 6 (Bertolino 4, Aumann 2); Shelbyville 7 (Koonce 4, Wells 2, McDonald 1).

Records: Nokomis (7-6).

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