SPRING VALLEY - Bureau Valley, Hall, Princeton and Putnam County all ended the Colmone Classic on a winning note in Saturday’s finals at Hall High School.
Princeton defeated Pontiac 52-43 for fifth place, avenging an earlier 58-34 defeat to the Indians at the Ottawa Thanksgiving Tournament just two weeks ago.
“It was really good measuring stick for us to see how far we’ve come,” Princeton coach Jason Smith said, noting the Indians were missing their leading scorer, Henry Brummel, who is injured. “Do we have things to improve on? Absolutely. But I was really happy with our progress. We’re starting to play as a team and finding one another. We’re starting to find our identity a little bit, getting after our defense a little bit. When we challenge our guys, they usually rise to the occasion.”
All-tournament selection Noah LaPorte, who led the Tigers with 23 points, said the Tigers made good strides in the game.
“The first handful of games we were playing (as) individuals. We’ve been doing that a little bit lately, but that game right there we were really sharing the ball. Passing it around, playing good team ball,” he said.
Hall coach Mike Filippini said it was a good pick-me-up-game for the Red Devils (5-4).
“We had a nice rivalry win over St. Bede and then just get demoralized the next two games and then win this game,” he said. “Those were the same guys that got beat by 40 twice and everybody’s making fun of them at school and they’re getting embarrassed at school. For them to come back after those games and score 75 against Marquette, that’s a great win.”
Fieldcrest captured its record 13th Colmone Classic crown, rolling to a 62-42 victory over Rock Falls in the nightcap.
La Salle-Peru breezed to an 88-47 win over Mendota for third place.
Princeton 52, Pontiac 43: These two teams met two years ago for the championship. This time, the Tigers took down the Indians for fifth place.
The Tigers took a 12-5 lead at the end of the first quarter when Korte Lawson got a high bounce to fall back through the net and built a 27-15 lead at halftime.
LaPorte scored on a putback and threw down a slam dunk to give the Tigers a 45-28 early in the fourth quarter.
LaPorte added some more excitement when he took a lob pass from Lawson for another dunk to put the finishing touches on for a 52-39 lead with less than a minute to play.
It was the same play the Tigers used last year in the sectional against Riverdale, LaPorte said, and “he puts it right there every time.”
“The kids executed it perfectly,” Smith said.
Only four Tigers scored on the night, but it was more than enough. LaPorte finished with game-high 23 points with Jordan Reinhardt adding 12, Daniel Sousa nine and Lawson eight.
The Tigers outrebounded the Indians, 27-20.
Princeton, which opened the tournament with a five-point loss to eventual champion Fieldcrest, improved to 6-4 on the year.
For Pontiac, Riley Weber scored 17 points and Ken Bauman 12.
Hall 73, Marquette 71: The Red Devils built a 56-47 lead with six minutes to play, but missed four free throws late to allow the Crusaders to have a 3-point shot for the tie only to come up short.
Max Bryant finally sank two charity tosses to put the game away.
Payton Dye led four Hall players in double figures with 20 points. Braden Curran added 14 points and Joseph Bacidore and Bryant had 10 each.
“We had lots of contributions. Payton had a great game. Max was in foul trouble, but had a great defensive game and made a ton of free throws, thank God,” Filippini said. “Everybody contributed, even Anthony Reeser, who hasn’t played a lot, but playing a little more in this tournament. He had four huge points and I think those are his first four points this year.”
Denver Trainor led Marquette with 23 points while Alec Novotney added 18.
Bureau Valley 64, St. Bede 44: After dropping their first two games in pool play, the Storm won their last two, finishing 2-2 for ninth place.
They led from start to finish against the Bruins, leading 20-8 after one quarter and 38-19 at the half.
“We got better. After some sloppy play in pool play, I thought we showed more discipline these last couple of days,” BV coach Jason Marquis said. “Had more consistent energy. Had kids on the floor helping lead and communicating to avoid us. It’s been nice to get a couple practices in here this week. I think that’s helped a lot too.”
All-tournament selection Corban Chhim led the Storm with 19 points and Elijah Endress added 17, Landon Hulsing had nine and Bryce Helms had seven.
“Had different kids show up big,” Marquis said. “Nice to have Endress break out a bit tonight. He starting to find his stride again. Started with his defense Thursday. Carried over to his offense tonight.”
Alex Ankiewicz led the Bruins with 12 points.
Putnam County 51, Stillman Valley 48: Orlando Harris scored 14 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and had three assists to lead Putnam County.