PLANO — After a stunning loss in their opener, the high-scoring Mendota Trojans keep winning in the consolation bracket of the 50th Annual Plano Boys Basketball Christmas Classic.
Mendota rolled on via a 70-46 victory over the Coal City Coalers Friday afternoon. The Trojans, who were seeded fourth before being knocked off by unseeded Aurora Christian on Wednesday, never trailed in the game in which they bolted out to a 22-10 lead in the first quarter.
"Mendota played well," said Coal City center Jeremy Jiskra. "They have some big kids."
Coalers coach Brad Boresi added, "They are very physical. "They were a lot more physical than us. It is tough for me to say but we got pushed around out there way too much."
One of the most physical of the Trojans, who are now 11-3 on the season, was senior center Austin O'Sadnick. The 6-7 O'Sadnick tallied 11 points in the opening frame en route to 15 overall. Senior guard Evan Carroll matched O'Sadnick with 15 markers. Carroll was 6-of-9 from the field while O'Sadnick was 7-of-11.
Also getting in double figures were senior forwards Jon Gehm and Trae Blumhorst. The latter left the game after just 14 minutes with an apparent sprained ankle.
"I hated to see that player go down for them," said Boresi.
The lone Coal City player to get into double figures was senior forward Jon West. He had a trio of his five baskets in the second quarter.
Both coaches cleared the benches late with Coaler senior forward Shondalle Castile-Washington claiming a defensive board while Connar Rice grabbed a pair. Forward Nate Chapman meshed two free throws while Jiskra hit a turn-around jumper in the final minute.
"It's my first basket of the season," said Jiskra. "I saw we got the rebound and I just hustled down the floor as fast as I could. They got me the ball and I just put it up."
The Trojans held a 39-25 advantage on the boards with seven different players claiming at least five rebounds each. Carroll topped the team with seven while O'Sadnick ended with one less. Lane Cowherd, forward Joe Micetich and guard Brennen Shetina wound up with four apiece for Coal City.
The Coalers hit on 20-of-60 field goal efforts on the afternoon for 33.3 percent. Mendota clicked on 27 baskets in 51 shots for 52.9 percent.
Coal City now faces host school Plano at 11:30 a.m. Saturday for 11th place.
"This makes us 5-7 (overall) and Saturday's game is huge," said Boresi. "If we win, it will allow us to wind up the tournament 3-2 in the winner's bracket. That would be a very nice accomplishment."
The Coalers were unseeded going in, forcing Coal City to play a lead-in contest.