By Steve Robinson | January 5, 2010 - 10:41 pm
Posted in Category: Olympia HS, Pekin Daily Times, U-High

BasketballNORMAL – Stanford Olympia High could count the number of turnovers on one hand after their Corn Belt Conference matchup at Normal University High.

Olympia head coach Gerry Thornton saw those few turnovers as the key to his Spartans’ 55-44 Corn Belt Conference victory over the Pioneers here Tuesday night.

Olympia (13-3, 3-1 Corn Belt)jumped out to a 10-3 lead early on the strength of a trio of threes by junior forward Mike Hallstein pushed Olympia in front, 13-3 with 4:12 left in the quarter, and acted as a cushion when U-High went on an 8-0 run late in the period on two free throws each from Mitch Styczynski and Bryn Agnew, and a bucket by Elem McKinley, giving Olympia a 13-11 lead going into the second quarter.

U-HighOlympia went on an 8-0 dash to start the second quarter, aided by another trey from Hallstein, and two free throws from Clint Stroud and one more from Stuart Nafziger, helping give Olympia a 26-23 lead at halftime. A trey each from U-High’s Connor Brown and Kyle Morris midway through the second quarter helped keep the Pioneers close going into the third quarter.

U-High (5-10, 4-1 Corn Belt) did push Olympia back in the third quarter on the strength of threes by sophomore guard Tommy Schiller and Brown, assisted by two baskets late in the quarter by Mitch Styczynski, cutting the Spartans’ lead to 40-38 going into the fourth quarter.

Hallstein led Olympia with a game-high 24 points. He was followed in double-figures by Spencer Pratt’s 20. U-High’s Bryn Pratt was the only Pioneers player in double figures, having scored 10.

OlympiaU-High came close twice in the fourth quarter, the second time coming within two, 44-42, after a Pioneers basket from Bryn Agnew with 6:30 left. But U-High two shooting fouls would put Hallstein at the free throw line, where he would sink all four shots, putting Olympia up 48-42, and toward certain victory.

“(U-High) is very physical and very aggressive (and) very quick. I thought in the fourth quarter, we showed pretty good poise,” said Olympia head coach Gerry Thornton.

U-High head coach Bob Fitzgerald credited the Spartans with “doing a better job of handling the ball. I thought we lost our legs a little bit. I thought we hurried ourselves on the defensive end, and I thought that made a difference in the basketball game in the fourth quarter.”

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