By Tom Schultz
For the Herald
LANARK, Ill. —
The Fulton Steamers’ up-and-down boys basketball season continued Thursday at the Eastland Holiday Tournament. Their disappointing 60-41 loss to the Lena-Winslow Panthers emphasized the ebb and flow of the Steamers’ season after Day 1’s solid play at the tournament.
With the exception of being outscored in the third quarter of their game with Stillman Valley on Wednesday, the Steamers played hard, tough, smart and with enthusiasm all day, earning a split in their games against Stillman Valley and Pearl City.
The Steamers were unable to replicate their playing style from the day before, partly because of injuries that have shrunk the roster to seven players. Guard Devin Kuehl went down with a concussion at the end of the first game and will not return until the new year. Having only seven players available put more pressure on the players on the court.
“It’s kind of tough when we only have seven players,” senior TJ Huizenga said. “We can’t go full speed the entire game with only seven players. We start getting tired at the end.”
Already working from the disadvantage before the tip, the Steamers had a hard time finding a rhythm or a pace they were comfortable with. Lena-Winslow took advantage of that, setting the pace and changing it how they wanted throughout the game after getting up to a quick 7-2 lead.
“We got off to a very slow start.” Fulton coach Rick Norman said. “I think they had five layups in the first quarter and then they added another three in the second quarter on us. Those easy buckets got the momentum on their side, and we weren’t able to recapture the momentum at all.”
It took several minutes into the first quarter for the Steamers to get on the board, with senior Nick Fish making two free throws after being fouled on a putback. Unfortunately for Fulton, the free throws didn’t spark the Steamers offense; they managed only eight points in the first quarter.
“We came out slow, methodical; we picked up a little bit in the second half, but it was too late by then,” Huizenga said.
Despite the loss, Huizenga stayed positive looking forward in the tournament, “We’ll get them next time,” he said.
LENA-WINSLOW 60, FULTON 41
FULTON (3-12) — Matt Dail 3 2-2 9, Kody Crosthwaite 0 0-0 0, Nick Fish 2 4-4 9, TJ Hui-zenga 3 0-0 7, John Widener 3 2-2 8, Cody Huff 0 1-2 1, Jake Willging 2 3-4 7. Totals 13 12-14 41.
LENA WINSLOW — Brock Keltner 1 0-0 2, Shay Chenong 2 1-2 5, Austin Mancosky 1 0-0 2, Chase Huneke 1 0-0 3, Logan Moothart 3 0-0 8, Josh Krogman 2 0-2 4, Tevin Sellers 6 4-6 16, Ben Moest 1 0-0 2, Hank Holm 5 2-2 16, Matt Greene 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 7-12 60.
Fulton 8 17 9 7 — 41
Lena-Winslow 24 13 16 7 — 60
3-point goals — Fulton 3 (Dail, Fish, Huizenga); Lena-Winslow 7 (Holm 4, Moothart 2, Huenke). Total Fouls — Fulton 9, Lena Winslow 12. Fouled out — None.