Peyton Taylor drives to the basket to lay in two points to give the Toppers a twelve point lead over Maroa-Forsyth in the fourth quarter Tuesday night at the St. Teresa Tournament in Decatur.  The Toppers were able to hold off a late surge by the Trojans and claim the 60-58 victory. 


Toppers pick up exciting win at St. Teresa Tournament

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[December 31, 2015]  In their final game of the St. Teresa Tournament in Decatur, the Mount Pulaski's Toppers won over Maroa-Forsyth 60-58.

Peyton Taylor, a 6'7 sophomore who scored 8 points in the win, was named to the all tournament team.

The Toppers had 2 wins and 2 losses in the tournament with Taylor averaging 13 points per game. Those two losses the Toppers suffered were both in overtime.

Mount Pulaski Coach Ryan Deibert was very happy with the team's play throughout the tournament. "It would have been great to be playing in the championship game tonight but we didn't execute well enough late in games to get that chance," he said. "I really loved the effort we played with over the four games. I thought we played hard and unselfish. We still have areas to improve on but I feel we are a better team coming out of the tournament than we were going in."

One thing is for sure the Toppers provided their fans with some exciting basketball throughout the tournament. Tuesday night's contest versus Maroa-Forsyth went down to the wire and this time it was Mount Pulaski getting the lucky break. A last second three-pointer attempted by Brody Adreon would have given the Trojans an incredible comeback victory but instead, as the purple and gold fans held their breath, the ball hit the back of the rim and bounced out as the buzzer sounded. Finally, the Toppers had earned the right to celebrate with a 60-58 win.

Mount Pulaski got off to a great start in the contest by running out to an early 8-0 lead. They led the Trojans 15-8 at the end of one quarter of play, despite Taylor and Lukas Aylesworth getting into early foul trouble.

Four minutes into the game both of them had two fouls apiece, forcing Coach Deibert to go to his bench early. That move proved more beneficial in the second quarter as sophomore G Oliver came off the bench to score 7 points and ignite the Toppers to a 29-23 lead at the half.

The Trojans came out firing following halftime and quickly outscored the Toppers 10-5 to make it a one point game, 34-33. Dalton Litterly then fired up the purple and gold crowd with a three at the 3:40 mark and Brett Huff followed that up with a two point bucket that stretched the Toppers lead to 39-33. The Trojans and Toppers kept battling back and forth in the third and at the end of the quarter the Toppers held a 42-37 lead.

The Toppers looked like they were going to dominate the fourth quarter. Taylor started the quarter by scoring from the inside, then Brett Huff knocked down a baseline three, meanwhile Will Stewart made a nice move down low which was good for two points and finally Brett Huff seemed to say, "this lead is not enough" as he drained a jumper with 5:18 on the clock to give Mount Pulaski a ten point lead, 51-41.

Then it was Taylor's turn again. His teammates found him open near the basket and he took advantage of the opportunity. He shoots, he scores and Mount Pulaski is looking good with a 53-41 lead with 3:15 left in the game. Another layup by Taylor kept the lead on pace at 55-43 and still the Toppers were in control.

But as with any sport things can always change on a dime and as Maroa-Forsyth called a timeout with 1:10 remaining and the score 59-52 in the Toppers favor, things were just about to roll the Trojan's way. Litterly lost possession of the ball and it was quickly picked up by Adreon for a layup cutting the lead to 59-54. As Taylor missed a free throw on the other end for Mount Pulaski, it was Adreon again driving to the basket for the Trojans and the lead was now trimmed to 59-56.

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Finally Parker Barrett got a chance at the free throw line for the Trojans and he delivered. His two free throws had the Maroa-Forsyth crowd on their feet as the score was now 59-58 with 12.8 seconds on the clock.

Seconds later the Trojans fouled last night's leading scorer, Aylesworth and he was able to sink one of two shots to put Mount Pulaski up 60-58.

One last timeout by the Trojans allowed them to set up their final play and it was executed almost perfectly. Almost being the key word. Adreon took the last shot and he had a great look at the basket and the ball just hit the back of the rim and bounced long at the buzzer. All Adreon could do was hold his head in disbelief. Meanwhile the Toppers let out a huge sigh of relief as it was really nice to be on the winning side of this one.

Litterly led the Toppers scoring with 15 points and Brett Huff was close behind with 14 points.

The Toppers will resume regular season play at home next week, as they host Greenview on Tuesday night and Hartsburg-Emden on Friday night.

The Toppers overall season record sits at 6 wins and 8 losses.

Other scores from the tournament:

Championship game
St. Teresa 35
Riverton 30

Sullivan 57
Decatur LSA 40

Heyworth 58
Cerro Gordo-Bement 52

Mount Pulaski scoring:

Litterly 15
Brett Huff 14
Oliver 9
Taylor 8
Aylesworth 8
Stewart 4
Brandon Huff 2

Maroa-Forsyth scoring

Barrett 22
Adreon 17
Ahrens 9
Nelson 4
Sprague 3
Willoughby 2
Gilbert 1

[Teena Lowery]

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