SIJHSAA Class M Regional Tournament action got underway Thursday evening at Dan Price Gymnasium when the NCOE Junior Cardinals took on Albion. This game started out all NCOE as they erupted on the offensive end to record 20 first quarter points. This, along with some lights out defense, allowed the Jr. Cards to hold Albion to just seven points as they claimed the 20-7 first quarter advantage. NCOE extended this lead as they continued to dominate on both ends of the court in the second frame and outscored their opponent 18-9 to head to the locker room at halftime with a comfortable 22 point cushion.
Second half action started out slow for both teams as each played dead even but did manage to add eight more points to their totals before heading into the final fame of action. This fourth and final stanza would once again witness the Junior Cardinals outscoring Albion 18-13 as they coasted into the championship game with a 64-37 victory.
Preston Long recorded 23 points to top the Junior Cardinal offense while Joel Hortin added 16 points, Erik Healy 11 points, Cord Tucker six points, Jaden Simmons six points, and Colby Prather added two points. Tucker and Long would each dish out a team high five assists followed by three a piece from Healy and Prather while Hortin added two.
The rebounding column was led by Preston Long as he ripped down a team high seven rebounds followed by Erik Healy with six, Joel Hortin three, Cord Tucker two, Jaden SImmons two, Colby Prather one, Hayden Mathis one, and Dayton Tharp one. Those credited with steals in the game were Tucker, Long, Hortin, and Healy with two a piece and one for C. Prather.
NCOE will resume Regional Tournament action Monday evening when they take on the Fairfield Colts in the title game with the winner earning a berth in the SIJHSAA Class M State Tournament.
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