CLINTON — It all began on a chilly winter’s evening when the Tri-Valley Vikings sailed into town under cover of a weather inversion fog and took the home town Maroons by surprise.
Although the junior varsity (JV) won by 20 points, the varsity struggled in their attempt to defend “Gene Vance Court.”
The game began well for the Maroons as they snagged the tip-off and immediately scored on a 3-point shot. But by the end of the first quarter the Maroons were down by eight, 20-12.
The home team then came out of the mist to tie the game at 27 points at halftime. The home team was stopped by the opposition in the third and fourth quarters, with the Vikings taking the 73-58 win. The Maroons were led by Mason Walker (#3) with 22 points including five 3-pointers followed by Brooks Cluver (#12) with 10 points and one 3-pointer.
Before retaking the home court, the Maroons taveled to Peoria to take on Peoria Christian. This was also an undertaking as the Maroons came out on top, but only by two points 69-67. The Maroons then returned to their home confines to host the Central Illinois Conference (CIC) Tournament over the week of January 29.
The Maroons would play oin the opening game against Coach Vic Binkley’s previous team, the Warrensburg/Latham Cardinals. The battle was uphill for the Maroons all night as the retrieved the jump ball but could not capitalize by making a basket.
The Cardinals flew to a quick lead with the Maroons playing catch up and tying the game at 10 points at the end of the first quarter. From there the Maroons battled hard, but the Cardinals kept the game just out of reach, taking a 4 point lead at halftime.
The opposition was able to spread their lead to 7 points at the end of the third quarter. The Maroons were able cut the lead to a couple of points and three points several time, but the Cardinals consistently put the game beyond reach each time to take the win 44-39.
Mason Walker (#3) was the only Maroon to score in double figures with 18 points and only one three pointer. The Cardinals had two players in double figures. The Maroons record is now 21-3 overall and 3-0 in conference play.
They were scheduled to appear twice more this week in the tournament, in the second game on Thursday, February 1 and in the final flurry on Friday the second of February.