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Musketeers Hang Onto Conference Lead

Blake Cowell, Staff Writer

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Last Tuesday the Musketeers kept their season rolling when they welcomed in the New Athens Jackets. Red Bud was still dealing with team sickness and injuries, but needed to salvage a win to keep pace with Steeleville at the top of the conference. In the first quarter Red Bud was off and running on the offensive side of the floor, Griffin Ziebold and Blake Cowell both rattled in three pointers to help the Musketeers jump out to an early 14-10 lead. In the second quarter Red Bud managed to continue to consistently make shots and survive on defense. The Musketeers held a 26-21 lead at the half. In the third quarter, the Musketeers came out flat on defense and their conference title hopes were on the line. The New Athens’ guards handled the ball well, and were able to convert a trio of three pointers on three straight possessions. Their post player also pitched in six points in the quarter, giving New Athens a 42-36 lead heading into the final quarter. With all odds against the ailing Musketeers, they began to turn up the pace on the visiting Jackets.  Griffin Ziebold used his elusive ability to weave to the basket and convert easy baskets around the hoop. He was also able to pull up for a jumper and convert the basket in the quarter. With the Musketeers down by one, Drew Kueker fresh off of injury, nailed a three pointer to give the home team a two point lead. The Musketeers were struggling all night on defense, and again gave up the lead that they fought so hard to regain. With under a minute to go, and the Musketeers down by one, Cowell nailed a clutch three point field goal to give Red Bud another two point lead. This time the lead would not be given up, and the Musketeers would hold on for a 54-51 win over the Jackets. Cowell led the team in scoring with 17 points, followed by Ziebold with 14.

On Saturday the Musketeers squared with the Gibault Hawks. In the first quarter the Musketeers shot the ball exceptionally well. Red Bud had to keep up with the Hawks point guard in order to stay in the game. Cowell nailed a pair of three point shots in the first quarter, along with Ziebold contributing six points of his own. These efforts would only earn the home team a 14-14 dead knot at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter the Musketeers continued to shoot the ball exceptionally well. Shaye Carter converted a layup while being fouled, and proceeded to sink the free throw. Jayden Birkner and Cowell also sunk three pointers in the quarter. Even with the exceptional offense, the Musketeers still trailed 31-28 at the half. The Musketeers again came out of the locker room flat for the third quarter. All season long Red Bud has struggled offensively in the third quarter, and this night was no different. Ziebold was able to reverse pivot in the lane and convert an “And One” layup, while Cory Fithian converted a jump shot of his own. In the fourth and final quarter the Musketeers were in a dog fight with Gibault’s point guard.  Ziebold and Fithian both scored four points a piece in the final quarter, but the defensive lapses were too much to overcome. Red Bud fought to the very end, but eventually fell 51-47 to the Hawks.

Red Bud remains in contention for the Conference title with four conference games remaining. Their biggest obstacle will come when the Lebanon Greyhounds come to town on Tuesday to try and upset the Musketeers. Red Bud will need to step it up on defense, and continue to shoot the ball well in order to come out on top. The Musketeers will not play the rest of the week after Tuesday’s home game.

 

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Musketeers Hang Onto Conference Lead