LITCHFIELD — Big Jake delivered his best Saturday for the Civic Memorial High boys’ basketball team.
Jakob Lowrance, the Eagles' 6-foot-8 senior center, scored a career-high 31 points in leading them past Mount Zion, 80-73, in the third-place game of the 48th annual Litchfield Tournament.
“He was fired up tonight and made a lot of layups,” teammate Zack Lehnen said. He joined Lowrance on the all-tourney team.
Lowrance, bound for Central Missouri State in Warrensburg, hit 12 of 18 shots and made all seven of his free throws. He netted 12 points in CM’s 29-point fourth quarter. The Eagles improved to 12-7. The Braves dropped to 10-9.
Elsewhere, East Alton-Wood River used a fast finish to best host Litchfield, 71-60, for seventh place. The 8-13 Oilers went 2-2 in the tournament.
Top-seeded Greenville shaded Taylorville, 60-56 in overtime for its first tourney title since 2009. The Comets improved to 20-2. The Tornadoes tumbled to 14-7. Nokomis snared fifth place by besting Metro East Lutheran, 57-53.
The all-tourney team included EA-WR's Mike Stimac and Blake Marks. Greenville guard Will Schaufelberger earned the tourney MVP. Teammate David Holden also made it, as did Taylorville's Mitchell Rhymes and Eric Dust, Mount Zion's Payton Grinestaff, plus Metro East Lutheran's Teddy Fifer.
Lowrance had plenty of assistance as the Eagles tallied a season-high point output. Lehnen and freshman Jaquan Adams both netted 14 points and point guard Adam Hill directed a potent offense in near-flawless fashion.
The Eagles made 33 of 54 shots, or 61 percent. And they survived 16 Mount Zion treys, a tourney record. The previous mark was 13, shared by three teams.
“It was definitely a little quicker game than we usually play,” Lehnen said. “We came out with a good attitude and we were hitting our shots. It was about like a summer game that went back and forth.”
Doug Carey, the Eagles’ coach, said: “We took what they (Braves) were giving us. It was a faster pace than we were used to playing, but we made a lot of good decisions.
“And Adam Hill really played a great game. He took care of the ball and found the open guys.”
Mount Zion led 31-30 at half before Lowrance (nine points) and Lehnen (six points) ignited CM's 21-point third quarter. The Eagles led 51-45 going into the last quarter.
Lowrance made all six of his free throws in a 12-point fourth quarter. Lehnen hit three field goals and the Eagles converted 10 of 12 foul shots during the closing eight minutes.
Jordan Horath (20 points) and Grinestaff (16 points) led Mount Zion, which got no closer than 60-57 early in the fourth quarter.
EAWR 71, Litchfield 60 – Marks and Stimac both scored 20 points to propel the Oilers past the Purple Panthers. Marks, a junior guard, went wild in the second half. He scored 17 of his points.
The Oilers followed his lead. They made 15 of 26 shots a rousing 47-point second half. They also converted 12 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter and 13 of 15 in the half.
“We started moving the ball around and hitting our shots,” Marks said. “My teammates told me to keep shooting.”
So did EA-WR coach Kyle Duncan. And Marks obliged.
Litchfield led 45-34 with a minute remaining in the third quarter. Then EA-WR went on a 25-5 spree to build a 59-50 advantage with three minutes to play in the game.
“It’s our second biggest win of the year,” Duncan said. He pointed to the two-point victory over Roxana as the most gratifying one. Both came at Litchfield.
Duncan added, “We started hitting our shots and Blake began lighting it up like he has done all year. He’s a good player and capable of doing that every night.”
Teammate Dillon Buck pitched in 12 points and reserve Justin Englar hit all three of his shots in a 26-point fourth quarter.
Stimac’s 20 points give him 969 for his career. The Oilers go to Marquette Catholic for a key Prairie State Conference game on Friday and then welcome Bunker Hill in another league game Saturday.
“That’s our best finish at Litchfield in my three years of coaching,” Duncan said. “We were a combined 1-7 here the first two years. That's also our first win over Litchfield in a while. They had beaten us eight straight times.”
Conner Simmons scored a team-best 18 points for Litchfield, which got to within 61-58 on his 3-pointer with 1:41 remaining. However, EA-WR logged the next eight points and increased its lead to 69-58 with 22.6 seconds to go.
CM 80, MOUNT ZION 73
CM 21 9 21 29 – 80
Mount Zion 13 18 14 28 – 73
CM (12-7) – Jakob Lowrance 31, Brett Lane 9, Zack Lehnen 14, Jaquan Adams 14, Brandon Hampton 6, David Lane 6. 2FG-31 3FG-2 FT-12 PF-7
Mount Zion (10-9) – Austin Thacker 12, Payton Grinestaff 16, Austin Cox 9, Jordan Horath 20, Jonah Smith 3, A.J. Davis 13. 2FG-11 3FG-16 FT-3 PF-16
EA-WR 71, LITCHFIELD 60
EA-WR 13 11 21 26—71
Litchfield 15 16 14 15 – 60
EA-WR (8-13) – Mike Stimac 20, Dillon Buck 12, Blake Marks 20, Justin Englar 6, Zach Butkovich 6, Nic Daily 7. 2FG-18 3FG-7 FT-14 PF-10
Litchfield (12-9) – James Bryant 4, Ryan Howard 12, Conner Simmons 18, Cooper Scharf 13, Matt Meyer 1, David Seabaugh 11, Kelson Triplett 1. 2FG-16 3FG-7 FT-7 PF-18