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DANVILLE Vermilion County basketball teams have always struggled with the shooting background at the David S. Palmer Arena.

The large open areas behind the baskets along with the bigger court are two of the biggest adjustments that teams have to make in the Vermilion County Tournament.

As the top seeded team in the boys tournament, the Bismarck Henning/Rossville Alvin Blue Devils were the last time to step on the court as they opened pool play against the Westville Tigers on Tuesday night.

“It’s definitely an adjustment when you get onto this court,” said Bismarck Henning/Rossville Alvin coach Gary Tidwell.

The Blue Devils overcame a 33 percent shooting performance with a tenacious defense that forced the Tigers into 25 turnovers on the way to a Bismarck Henning/Rossville Alvin 44 30 victory.

“We were missing a lot of open shots,” said Bismarck Henning/Rossville Alvin sophomore guard Drew Reifsteck. “We had to rely on our defense to force those turnovers.”

But, Bismarck Henning/Rossville Alvin (12 6) didn’t have problems shooting from the perimeter. The Blue Devils were 8 of 17 behind the 3 point arc, 47.1 percent.

It was the shots in close to the basket that gave them problems.

Bis Henn/Ross Al made just 7 of 28 (25 percent) on shots inside of the 3 point arc most of them were point blank layups.

“That was really uncharacteristic,” Tidwell said. “When you get those type of opportunities to score around the basket, you need to capitalize. We just didn’t do a good job of finishing.

“Our defense was forcing turnovers and creating some really good scoring opportunities.”

The Blue Devils found themselves holding a slim 28 26 lead with just over seven minutes remaining after Westville senior Tylan Stricklett scored on a drive to the basket. The Tigers were on a 12 0 run and it looked like the Vermilion County Tournament was going to have its first nail biter in the boys tournament.

But Bismarck Henning/Rossville Alvin senior Wyatt Edwards finally had the answer for the Blue Devils, knocking down a 3 pointer from the top of the arc.

Travis Lappin followed with another 3 pointer and a short jumper in the lane as Bismarck Henning/Rossville Alvin went on a 12 2 run to regain the double digit lead.

“Travis Lappin stepped up big for us,” said Reifsteck,
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who had a game high 15 points to go along with a game high six assists. “Those were a couple of really big shots for us at a critical time.”

Joining Reifsteck in double figures for the Blue Devils was Edwards with 13 to go along with his game high seven steals.

Westville, which outrebounded Bis Henn/Ross Al 39 18, was never able to take the lead in the second half.

Brandt Williamson was the leading scorer for the Tigers with nine points, while Stricklett pulled down a game high 12 rebounds. on Thursday.

Hoopeston Area overcame a 21 20 halftime deficit to beat Armstrong Potomac, keeping its hopes alive of repeating as the county champions.

Senior Ryan Drayer scored seven second half points as the Cornjerkers opened the third quarter with an 8 0 run to take a lead they would never relinquish.

Graham Eighner finished with a team high 14 points for Hoopeston Area (15 5), while Lucas Hofer had 10 points to go along with a team high seven rebounds.

Armstrong Potomac junior Dalton Loschen corralled a tournament high 13 rebounds in the contest to go along with six points and four assists. Senior Shawn Reardon finished with a game high 15 points and nine rebounds. The Trojans fall to 3 16 on the season.

Salt Fork 57, Georgetown Ridge Farm 33

DANVILLE A big second half performance from Salt Fork sophomore Payton Taylor helped the Storm cruise to a 24 point victory over the Buffaloes.

Taylor scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds after halftime, as he finished with a game high 16 points and 11 rebounds. He was one of four Salt Fork players to finish in double figures as Brady McMasters had 13, Blaize Cobb Griffin chipped in with 12 and Gavin Chew contributed 10.

McMasters and Chew each shared game high honors with four steals each, while Cobb Griffin had three steals to go along with a team high three assists for the Storm (16 4).
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