BREESE — Clinton County rivals Central and Carlyle squared off Saturday night in a primetime matchup at the Mater Dei Tournament, where the Cougars grinded out a 40-32 win.
Field goals were hard to come by on both ends, with Central running an effective zone defense to contain the Indians' Matt Hilmes.
"Hilmes is a tough matchup for us," Central coach Jeremy Shubert said. "We ran the zone against Briarcrest and it had some success for us, and we wanted to try it again tonight."
Jacob Timmermann provided most of the punch for the Cougars, finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds to lead his squad in both categories.
"Even though we played zone the last two nights, our offense doesn't change," said Shubert. "When Jacob gets to the rim or the free-throw line, that's good for our team."
Hilmes had a big game in a losing effort, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds. But he was the lone Indian to score more than three points.
Central led by only four after three quarters, but opened up a lead in the final period from the charity stripe. The Cougars connected on 14-of-20 free-throw attempts to pull away.
After losing to Carlyle last week, Central's win was a measure of payback.
The Cougars will play for third place Monday, while the Indians will be in the seventh-place game.
Sacred Heart Griffin 62, Carlyle 49
(Springfield) Sacred Heart-Griffin built an early double-digit lead by shooting over Carlyle's zone defense.
"I didn't like our matchups with them in man, so we played a zone and hoped they'd miss some shots," Carlyle coach Andy Palmer said. "But they buried their first five or six 3s and put us in a hole."
Carlyle trailed for most of the game, but the Indians did make a late run that ultimately came up short.
"It seemed like we'd make a run and have a big possession, and then we'd turn it over or force a bad shot," said Palmer. "You can't beat good teams like that."
Pacing SH-G in scoring was Malik Turner with 16. The Cyclones went unbeaten in pool play to win Pool A.
Hilmes led Carlyle with 17 points, and Logan Zachry finished with 11.
Edgewater 46, Nashville 32
Edgewater pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Nashville in the day's second game.
With the score tied at 27-27, early in the fourth quarter, the team from Florida went on a 16-2 run to put the game out of reach.
Royce Newman and Hunter Beetley both had eight points for Nashville, which was held to just three field goals in the second half.
Towson State recruit Eddie Keith scored 18 points to lead the Eagles. Edgewater won Pool B with four tournament wins.
Briarcrest 68, Mascoutah 38
Mascoutah remained winless in the tournament, dropping its fourth straight game.
The visitors from Tennessee led by double figures for most of the game after building an early 21-11 lead.
The Indians' Alex Oltmann had 13 points, and Patrick White tallied 12.
Most of the Saints' offense came from Mark French and Micah Thomas, who finished the game with 20 and 19 points, respectively.
Highland 53, Okawville 46
Okawville could not hang on in a loss to Highland.
Despite trailing for much of the game, the Bulldogs made a late charge in the fourth quarter to pull out their first win of the tournament.
Highland managed to limit Okawville's dynamic freshman Noah Frederking to just nine points. Jacob Brammeier scored 23 to lead the Rockets.
Scoring in double figures for Highland were Caleb McKee (14) and Aaron Elledge (13).
Okawville entered the tournament as a ninth-seed but opened some eyes over the weekend and will play in the third-place game. Highland will play for ninth place.