#5 Trailblazers Outlast Saints to Advance to Finals of District 16 Tournament - Athletics

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#5 Trailblazers Outlast Saints to Advance to Finals of District 16 Tournament

Ina, IL – In what turned out to be a defensive slugfest on both sides, VU would knockdown key free-throws down the stretch to outlast a hard-pressing Shawnee team, and capture their 30th win of the season for the 16th time in program history, 66-55 at Rend Lake College this afternoon to advance to the final game of the District 16 Tournament.

The name of the game in the first-half for both teams was…..DEFENSE! VU scored off the opening tip with a 3-ball from Nathan Hansen. After that it would be 2 and a half minutes before Shawnee would scorch the nets, but it would be a back-and-forth affair. VU would lead by as many as 6 with 7 minutes to play, but the Saints would fight back to tie the game at 20, and take a 22-21 lead with 1:41 remaining in the game. A Pair of free-throws by sophomore Chris Darrington, and another pair by fellow sophomore Rade Kukobat would allow the Trailblazers to take a 25-23 lead at half-time. Nate Hansen led in the scoring and rebounding column for Vincennes in the first-half. The 2nd year man from Evansville, Indiana piled up 8 points, and pulled down 8 rebounds. Chris Darrington and Rade Kukobat chipped in 6 a-piece as well.

However, the 2-point separation was short lived. Shawnee would score their first time down the floor to tie the ball-game, and then the teams would take turns trading the lead back-and-forth until Shawnee put back-to-back buckets together with 9:30 remaining to take a 40-36 lead. Just as he was during the 2nd half of yesterday’s game vs. Lake Land, Isaiah “Pun” Tisdale would be the spark plug that the Trailblazers needed to get the offense rolling. He would score 5-straight points, and recapture the lead for VU with just under 8 minutes left in regulation. Both teams would continue their strong-defensive efforts, but Chris Darrington would sink 6 straight free-throws late to help Vincennes to coast to a 66-55 victory over Shawnee to advance to the final round of the District 16 Tournament tomorrow night. The win moves their season record to 30-and-2, and marks the 16th time in program history a team has won 30-games, the 4th under Head Coach Todd Franklin.

Three players scored in double-figures for the Trailblazers in the contest. Sophomore Chris Darringotn scored 16 points, including a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw stripe. Freshman Isaiah Tisdale was a rebound shy of a double-double, tallying up 15 points & 9 rebounds. Sophomore Nate Hansen was also 1 rebound shy of a double-double. Hansen racked up 13 points, 9 rebounds, and poked away 3 steals.

The Trailblazers will return to action tomorrow night in the final game of the District 16 Tournament against the winner of John A. Logan vs. Wabash Valley at 9:00 p.m. est! You can catch Dave Hunter on 91.1 with coverage starting at 8:30 p.m. EST, or watch live at: https://www.rlc.edu/athletics/championship

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