Guards fire Trojans to 59-48 win over Panthers
The Beloit Trojans can trot out plenty of size, but it was two of the smallest players on the floor that inflicted the most damage against the Concordia Panthers.
Vincent Palen, a 5-10 junior, and Hudson Smith, a 5-6 senior, combined for 34 points in leading Beloit to a 59-48 victory over Concordia in the season opener for both teams Friday night in the Concordia Junior-Senior High School gymnasium.
Palen tossed in 24 points, including 21 in the second half.
Smith added 15 points for the Trojans.
“They have a really good team. Palen and Smith do a very good job of handling ball and are very strong at attacking the rim. Their speed is very tough to match,” Concordia coach Michael Roe said, “And then they having (Braxten) Eilert, somebody who is knocking down shots, you have 6-8 down low, somebody who can grab a rebound and finish, it causes a lot of problems on defense.”
It was Palen who stepped up when it was a four-point game in the fourth quarter.
A basket by Wyatt Trost pulled Concordia, which had trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, to within 42-38 with 6:04 remaining.
Palen scored on a drive and then got a steal and a layup.
Eilert hit a three, Smith made a layup and Palen tossed in four straight points to make it a 55-38 game with just over 3:30 to play.
Concordia was unable to get closer than the final margin of 11 points after that.
Senior Dyelan Reed led the way for Concordia with 20 points. He connected on 7 of 18 field goal attempts and five of seven free throws, and also had 11 rebounds and three steals.
Corben Monzon, before suffering an injury in the fourth quarter, scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Panthers.
Wyatt Trost added nine points.
Concordia hit 19 of 61 field goal attempts for 31 percent, including just 1 of 20 from three-point range.
“Shooting,” Roe said of where the Panthers need to improve heading into Tuesday night’s home matchup against Republic County, “They box and oned us all night, and we have got of start preparing for that because I am sure after tonight a lot of people will try. At the same time we are not going to face a 6-8 player for at least the next three games, four games. Even though the box score is not going to show it, he (Tate Thompson) affected the game in a huge way. Playing defense, forcing us to go over him. That was a big obstacle.”
Thompson finished with eight points in the game.
Beloit hit 21 of 47 shots from field for 47 percent.
Concordia, falling behind 8-3 early on, struggled to score the basketball in the first half, but played good enough defense to hang around.
The Panthers were down 12-7 after one quarter of play.
Concordia got as close as four points in the second period, and trailed by as many as seven.
A jumper by Monzon in the final seconds of the first half left the Panthers trailing 25-20.
Palen scored the first two points of the second half on a jumper.
A free throw by Chaz Carlgren and baskets by Monzon and Reed pulled Concordia with two points, 27-25.
Palen answered with a three.
A short baseline jumper by Monzon made it a 30-27 game.
Smith hit a jumper, Palen made a layup and Eilert buried a three to give Beloit a 37-27 advantage.
With Trost scoring five points, the Panthers closed the gap to 40-34 going into the fourth quarter.
The two teams traded baskets, and then Trost scored to make it 42-38.
Beloit then used a 15-4 blitz to pull away.
“I thought we did a pretty good job defensively for three quarters and then just kind of fell apart,” Roe said.
Palen 8-5-2 24, Smith 5-5-4 15, B. Eilert 2-0-4 6, O. Eilert 0-0-1 0, Mason 0-0-2 0, Thompson 3-2-3 8, Chandler 3-0-2 6. Totals: 21-12-18 59.
Williams 0-1-0 1, Trost 4-1-3 9, Atwood 1-0-0 2, Monzon 5-0-4 10, Owen 0-0-4 0, Carlgren 2-1-4 5, Reed 7-5-3 20, Rosenbaum 0-1-1 1, Parker 0-0-2 0. Totals: 19-9-21 48.