Matt Anderson looks to drive down the lane during the Hornets 52-51 loss to Pinckneyville on February 10.
By Brent Huelsmann
With just one regular season contest before postseason play begins, the Nashville Hornets look to head into Regionals with momentum. Nashville split their two contests last week as they defeated Carterville on February 9 before dropping a heartbreaker to Pinckneyville. Nashville plays their final game of the regular season at home against DuQuoin Friday night. It is Senior Night. The Hornets will begin the postseason on February 20 against either Staunton or Litchfield.
Nashville defeated Carterville for the second time this season 59-34. The Hornets jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter and never looked back as they moved to 7-1 in conference play.
The Hornets outscored the Lions 16-2 in the first quarter getting five points apiece from Bryce Bultman and Jake Haley in the first quarter. Carson Parker, Cameron Parker, and Tanner Bergmann each chipped in points in the first as well.
Nashville matched their offensive output in the second quarter as they continued to extend their lead. Haley and Bultman each knocked down shots from behind the arc, and Matt Anderson scored six points in the frame to help Nashville to a 32-13 halftime lead.
The second half was more of the same as Nashville pretty much had the game in hand.
Nashville outscored the Lions 13-6 in the third quarter to take a commanding 45-19 win into the final stanza.
In the fourth, Nashville was in cruise control. Carterville actually outscored Nashville in the fourth, but it was not enough as Nashville took the 59-34 win.
Bultman led the way with 14 points as one of three players in double figures. Haley added 12 points, followed by Carson Parker with 10 points. Bergmann added seven points, while Matt Anderson and Cameron Parker each scored six points apiece. Dale Anderson rounded out the scoring with four points.
The Hornets were on the road for the final time of the regular season as Nashville traveled down 127 to take on the Panthers of Pinckneyville. The Hornets were looking to keep their hopes of a conference championship alive, while Pinckneyville was looking to clinch the conference outright. The two teams battled down to the wire, but a late free throw from Grant Jausel sealed a 52-51 win.
Pinckneyville got off to a fast start as they jumped out to a 18-8 lead over the Hornets. Nashville battled back towards the end of the first, as they ended the first on a 4-0 run to cut the deficit to six points after one quarter of play.
Nashville continued their run in the second quarter, eventually tying the game at 18. The two teams would battle down the stretch of the second quarter, but Pinckneyville would go into the break with a narrow 25-23 lead.
Pinckneyville gained a bit of breathing room in the third as they outscored Nashville 11-8 in the period, and held a 36-31 lead with one quarter to play.
In the fourth, Nashville came alive. The teams would go back and forth late. Nashville got a great fourth quarter from both Carson Parker and Bultman who combined for 18 of the Hornets 20 points in the frame.
With the game tied at 51 and just 2.3 seconds remaining, Jausel was fouled sending him to the charity stripe for two. Jausel would miss the first, but sank free throw number two. A last three from the Hornets missed the mark as Pinckneyville took the 52-51 win and the SIRR Mississippi Division crown.
Pinckneyville was playing without Dawson Yates, while the Hornets were without senior guard Brandon Schnitker.
Carson Parker finished with 25 points in the win. Bultman added 11 points, followed by Matt Anderson with nine. Haley added four points, and Cameron Parker rounded out the scoring with two points in the loss.