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Chillicothe Times-Bulletin - Chillicothe, IL
  • IVC boys basketball beats East Peoria at home

  • It was a short week for Illinois Valley Central's basketball team but that does not mean it was any less sweet.
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  • It was a short week for Illinois Valley Central's basketball team but that does not mean it was any less sweet.
    The Ghosts hosted former Mid-Illini rival East Peoria Saturday and won, 63-47.
    "We played hard," coach Joe Mintus said. "East Peoria only has two wins so they are doing everything they can to try and win every game. They are a physical team too, which is different from what we have seen lately."
    The teams set the tone for the game as an offensive battle from the get-go, with the squads combining for 51 points in the first half.
    In the opening quarter, the teams went back and forth with points and leads.
    IVC's speedy, full-court press gave East Peoria trouble when it caused the Raiders to turn the ball over with bad passes and once on a five-second call when the Raiders failed to inbound the ball.
    While the press gave the Raiders fits at times, it also led to easy baskets for them at other times when the Raiders completed the inbound pass down the court and had room to run behind the Ghost defenders.
    "We know that we are going to give up some stuff on our press," Mintus said. "It really is not meant to give us a definite advantage in the first quarter but, hopefully, the continuous pressure wears teams down throughout the game, and I thought it did.
    "We gave up a lot out of it but, over time, we got EP to take bad shots and turn it over a lot late in the game. That's the area where it really helped."
    With time expiring on the quarter, AJ Johnson blasted in a three-point shot to give IVC a 15-12 lead.
    Johnson led the team with 16 points for the game.
    The second quarter was another offensive clinic but this time it was much more one-sided as IVC went on an 18-6 run.
    Reilly Owens sparked the Ghost offense with tough shots over Raider defenders and timely passes to set up his teammates with good looks at the hoop.
    Owens ended the night with 13 points.
    Midway through the frame, IVC went on a 12-point scoring binge that was helped by three-pointers from Johnson and Keegan Gauwitz.
    "We didn't turn the ball over in the second," Mintus said. "We had seven in the first quarter and took some bad shots. In the second, we only gave them one chance to score and did a nice job of checking out and getting rebounds."
    Defensively, the Ghosts plagued East Peoria with turnovers and forced poor shots to take a 33-18 lead at halftime.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Ghost defense took its foot off the gas a little in the third quarter and let East Peoria put up 15 points.
    IVC's offense, while not as spectacular as anytime else in the game, still racked up enough points to cling to a 42-33 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
    Down the stretch, Sam Reuter scored three baskets in a row to silence any hope of a Raider comeback as the rest of the offense continued keeping the pressure on East Peoria.
    The defense gave up 14 points in the last eight minutes but IVC cruised to the win.
    "I though we played well at times," Mintus said. "There were a few stretches where we didn't defend as hard as we should have. We ended up with 18 turnovers, which is too much against that team, but we took care of our home court.
    "I told our guys after the game that, at this point of the year, you want to build wins. With six regular season games left, we did a nice job of starting that."
    The game was IVC's only contest for the week.
    "We really went hard in practice at the beginning of the week," Mintus said. "It's a different schedule and it just gets weirder each week that we go here at the end of the season. We just have to do what we can and make the best of it."
    The team next plays at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Dunlap.
    "We have six very winnable games but they are also six teams that don't have a ton of wins and are really going to try hard to get some," Mintus said. "They are going to try and sneak a win by us, which is something that we have to prevent.
    "We have to play our best all the time, and I think our guys have found that out already this year. Nobody will give us anything, we have to earn it and I think that the guys understand that. If you don't show up, then you will have a team that will beat you."
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