Toppers headed to the Regional Championship

Send a link to a friend  Share

[February 26, 2015]  LINCOLN - The Mount Pulaski Toppers have had their sights set on the regional championship game all season long in hopes of making it two in a row.

The Toppers knew that to get to that point, they would have to go through the Calvary Saints, a team they had beaten earlier in the season, but only by two points, 57-55. Wednesday night the Toppers marched over the Saints, 68-51, and earned the right to play for the regional championship on Friday night versus Springfield Lutheran.

Leading the march against the Saints was senior Beau Collier with 19 points. Blake Collier had 15 points, while Michael Lowery contributed 12 points and 7 rebounds and Matt Amidon rounded out the senior scoring with 10 points.

The Toppers were hot from the start in this one, and even though it was not an easy battle, Mount Pulaski never trailed the Saints.

Blake Collier's three to start the Toppers scoring would set the tone early for Mount Pulaski. It would not take teammate Michael Lowery long to shoot his own trey and the Toppers were up 6-2. A nice pass from Beau Collier into the lane to big freshman Peyton Taylor next would give the Toppers an 8-2 edge and things were looking good early for MP. Blake Collier would score the next four points for the Toppers on free throws and the crowd was loving the 12-6 lead.

At the end of one, Mount Pulaski was up 14-10 as Matt Amidon scored his first bucket of the game and all the Toppers starters were in the scoring column. Beau Collier got his second foul at the end of the first quarter and had to warm the bench for part of the second quarter, but luckily he re-entered the game before the lead slipped away. His three at the 5:28 mark fired up the rest of the team and padded the Toppers lead, 17-12. Following a basket by Taylor, it was Beau Collier again nailing a three from the corner to extend the Toppers lead to 22-12 with 3:45 left to play in the second. The Saints kept marching on though and closed the gap to 26-20 and nearly had another basket as the Toppers were stalling and Lowery mistakenly passed the ball to one of the Calvary players. Fortunately, the Saints missed that bucket and Lowery redeemed himself by getting the rebound and in return Amidon made a nice little bank shot at the buzzer to give the Toppers a 28-20 lead going into the locker room. Things were certainly going the Toppers way.

To the Toppers advantage, things continued to go their way in the third quarter and thanks to great ball movement and great defense by the starters and the subs off the bench, the Toppers were able to extend the lead to 43-30 at the end of the quarter.

The Toppers continued to play confident in the fourth quarter and even as the Saints stepped up the man-to-man defense, the Toppers were never rattled. Particularly the hard-nosed Collier twins, who scored a combined 15 fourth quarter points and nearly stole the show, that is until Lowery used one of his moves he got from watching YouTube videos of LeBron James while in high school. Lowery was coming down the court for the layup and with Calvary's Tyler Upshaw right beside him, he decided to do a little bounce pass behind the back to teammate Beau Collier, who he thought was following close behind. Luckily for Lowery, Beau Collier usually isn't too far from him, on or off the court, and the pass worked perfectly as Beau scooped it up and laid it in for a thunderous two points for the Toppers.

[to top of second column]

The Toppers lead was now 58-44 with 2:32 remaining. From here the Toppers extended the lead by going a perfect 8-for-8 on free throws and that brought their total of free throws on the night to 21of 25, good for an eighty-five percent free throw percentage.

Another basket by Lowery in the fourth quarter rounded out the scoring and the Toppers could celebrate with a 68-51 victory and another shot at Springfield Lutheran.

The Toppers (17-11) will have a tough battle on their hands against the state-ranked Crusaders (28-1), who defeated the Toppers back on February 6th, 61-56 on the Crusaders home court.

Following the Toppers win over Springfield Calvary, Coach Ryan Deibert was finally able to look ahead to a rematch on a neutral court with Springfield Lutheran. "Lutheran is heavily favored. But I know we can win and the boys know they can win, and that's all that matters," said Deibert.

The Toppers take on the Crusaders, currently ranked third in the Class 1A state rankings, Friday night in Mason City at 7:00 p.m. for the regional championship.

Mount Pulaski scoring:

Beau Collier 19
Blake Collier 15
Michael Lowery 12
Matt Amidon 10
Peyton Taylor 8
Brett Huff 2
Will Stewart 1
Dalton Litterly 1

Calvary scoring

Isaiah Martin 12
Tyler Upshaw 11
Jrai Wood 8
Joseph Martin 7
Neil Ferris 4
Michael Johnson 4
Taylor Upshaw 3

[Teena Lowery]

Back to top