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By KENT COULTAS
Southeastern made 16 fourth quarter free throws and held off West Central 72-65, Nov. 26, in the championship game of the Beardstown Thanksgiving Tournament.
Chance Little scored late in the third quarter, and the Cougars trailed 44-41 heading into the fourth.
The Suns converted a three-point play to start the fourth quarter, and Mason Berry scored to cut the margin to 47-43 with 7:47 remaining in the game. West Central had a chance to get closer but committed a turnover on its next possession.
Southeastern, who in one preseason poll was ranked No. 2 in the state, scored nine straight points to extend the lead to 56-43. Zack Evans scored five points, and Berry made two free throws as West Central got within 56-50 with 3:28 remaining.
Evans scored with 2:50 remaining to cut the margin to 57-52. West Central had another chance to get closer but missed two three-point shot attempts and its next possession.
Tyson Brown scored, and the Cougars got within 69-65 with 20 seconds remaining in the game, but Southeastern made three free throws to seal the win.
Evans started the game with a three-point basket, and Little scored three points as West Central led 6-3. Berry made a three-point basket to give the Cougars an 11-7 lead with 4:12 remaining in the first quarter.
Southeastern scored eight straight points and led 15-11 after one quarter.
The Suns extended their lead to 27-16 in the second quarter before Evans scored six straight points. Southeastern scored late in the quarter and led 29-22 at halftime.
Evans made a four-point play in the third quarter, and West Central got within 37-34. Evans made another three-point basket to get the Cougars within 41-39 with 1:05 remaining in the quarter. The Cougars had a chance to tie the game but missed a field goal attempt.
Danny Stephens, who has committed to play at the University of Missouri as a walk-on, scored 52 points to lead Southeastern. He made 19 of 22 free throw attempts.
Evans scored 31 points to lead West Central (3-1). Jaydon Howard scored 11 points. Evans and Howard were both selected to the all-tournament team.
Berry scored nine points and had six assists. Little scored seven points. Tyson Brown scored five points and had six rebounds. Derek Price scored two points. Carson Brown had five rebounds.
Evans scored 32 points as West Central beat Rushville-Industry 72-38 Nov. 21 on the first night of the tournament.
The game was tied at 17 in the second quarter. Evans scored and Berry made two free throws, and West Central led for the remainder of the game.
After Rushville-Industry cut the margin to 21-18, West Central scored 27 straight points.
Evans made a free throw, Rylen Shaw made a three-point basket and Evans scored, and the Cougars led 27-18 at halftime. West Central scored the first 20 points of the third quarter to extend its lead to 47-18.
Evans also had five rebounds and four steals in the game.
Little scored 10 points and had five rebounds for West Central. Howard scored nine points and had five rebounds. Tyson Brown scored seven points and had six assists.
Carson Brown scored five points, and Price scored four. Shaw scored three points, and Berry scored two points and had five assists.
West Central scored 24 second quarter points and beat Mendon Unity 61-30, Nov. 29.
The Cougars trailed 15-12 after one quarter. Howard and Evans both scored to give West Central the lead. Evans made a three-point basket to extend the lead to 21-17.
Little grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to give West Central a 27-18 lead. Little grabbed another rebound and scored at the buzzer, and the Cougars led 36-22 at halftime.
West Central scored the first nine points of the third quarter. Tyson Brown made two free throws, Evans scored five points and Berry scored to give the Cougars a 45-22 lead with 5:44 remaining in the quarter.
Evans scored 22 points to lead West Central. Howard scored 10 points and had eight rebounds, and Little scored 10 points and had seven rebounds.
Tyson Brown scored eight points and five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Berry scored four points and three assists. Carson Brown scored three points. Price and Dalton Hutton each scored two points.
Evans and Howard each scored 15 points, and West Central beat the Galesburg Sophomore team 64-35 on the third night of the tournament.
Howard scored to break a 3-3 tie and start of 13 straight points by the Cougars. Evans and Shaw each made three-point baskets, and Little scored to give West Central a 16-3 lead. Evans scored again, and the Cougars led 18-5 after one quarter.
West Central led 34-10 at halftime and 53-23 after three quarters.
Evans had nine assists, six rebounds and six steals. Howard had five rebounds.
Price scored 10 points, and Cameron Sievers scores seven. Berry scored five points and had eight rebounds and five assists. Little scored five points and had six rebounds.
Carson Brown scored four points, and Shaw scored three.