Maroons fall in Regional

Game photos Marc Rogers / Journal — In the second semi-final the Maroons Brooks Cluver (#12) drains a 3-pointer for the home team.

CLINTON — Clinton High School (CHS) hosted another tournament the week of February 20 after hosting the wrestling sectionals and part of the Central Illinois Conference Junior High tournament. 

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 2A Boys Regional Tournament arrived at the CHS main gymnasium starting on Wednesday, February 22 and finished with the championship game on Friday February 34.  The Regional quarter finals were held at Warrensburg/Latham.  Riverton and Maroa/Forsyth were quarterfinal winners and moved on to play here in Clinton. 

The first semi-final matchup was between Bloomington’s Central Catholic Saints and the Riverton Hawks.  The game began with the Saints seemingly in control, leading by 9 after the first quarter.  However, the Hawks weren’t giving in and fought back to within 5 at halftime.

Then the teams returned to the hardwood and Central Catholic arrived to play while Riverton reappeared with players who had either lost interest or had never played together before. 

The Saints had a 15-point lead by the end of the third quarter and kept up their onslaught through the final quarter.  The final score was Central Catholic 80 - Riverton 54.  This moved the Saints into the Championship game on Friday night. 

Central Catholic was led by Cole Certa (#5) with 23 points including three 3-pointers and Colin Hayes (#24) with 10 points.

The second semi-final game matched the hometown Clinton Maroons against perennial Rt. 51 rival, the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans. 

The game started with the visitors taking a slight lead in the first quarter.  In the second quarter, both teams again scored in double figures with the Maroons coming out on top by 1 point at halftime. 

The third quarter was disastrous for the home team as they came out cold.  The Maroons scored just 6 points in the third quarter, all by Dawson Graves (#2).  However, the fourth quarter heated up and the Maroons outscored the Trojans as they had in the 2nd quarter.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough. 

The Maroons scored their final basket at the buzzer, losing by just three points, 54-51. 

Nevertheless, it has been a turnaround season for the Maroons.  The last 24-plus winning season for the Maroons was the 1995-96 season under then-coach Ted Turner, and they’ve only had three winning seasons since. 

The Maroons were led by Mason Walker (#3) with 16 points including four 3-pointers, followed by Dawson Graves (#2) and Brooks Cluver (#12) with 14 points each and one 3-pointer each.  #Maroon Strong #Maroon Pride  Shooting for next season.  (The Trojans were led by Grant Smith (#24) with 26 points and Kaiden Maurer (#10) with 21 points including four 3-pointers.)

The winners of the two Wednesday games returned to the Clinton hardwood for the Regional Championship after a days rest.

The Central Catholic Saints showed their dominance in the first quarter taking a 21-12 lead.  The Maroa/Forsyth Trojans didn’t give up, though, and came back to within 5 points by halftime.  From the whistle starting the third quarter to the final buzzer, the Saints again proved their dominance by doubling the Trojans score and winning the Championship 80-54. 

The Saints were led by Cole Certa (#5) with 31 points including five 3-pointers and Colin Hayes (#24) with 18 points.  Chase Fisher (#11) and Trey Eller (#30) each added 12 points.  The Trojans were led by Kaiden Maurer (#10) and A. J. Massey (#14) with 15 points each (Massey’s were all 3-pointers).