Carrollton's Gabe Jones shoots over North Greene's Josh Hopper in the Beardstown Tournament.

BEARDSTOWN - Defense wins ball games.

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

The North Greene Spartans used that method to defeat the Carrollton Hawks 53-43 in the Beardstown Tournament on Friday night.

This was the second time this month the Spartans bested the Hawks, and they finish pool play 3-0 and get the Calhoun Warriors in the championship game at 7 p.m. tomorrow night.

“We’re excited. The kids played really well tonight,” North Greene head coach Brett Barry said. “We came out and executed [our] game plan and got some good minutes out of Jonah [Hopper]. He played steady and did the things he needed to do for us to do well and the other guys played well too.”

The big talking point this week has been Jonah Hopper’s back, and Barry stated he’s “by far from full strength, but still made a good impact and was hot shooting the ball.

Brett Whicker, who has been a huge key player for the Spartans this season, led all scorers with 16 points. Josh Hopper continued his run of form with 15 points and Jonah finished with six.

North Greene came out in a 2-3 zone that kept Carrollton leading scorer Gabe Jones outside the paint most of the game and made life difficult for the Hawks to produce points.

Article continues after sponsor message

“It was tremendous. The other guys stepped into roles and did a great job with their assignments. We did a good job of helping,” Barry said. The guys locked it in, found their focus, and came together as a team.”

Carrollton scored 12 points in the first half and was outscored 16-3 in the first quarter. It was also another game where they struggled getting shots to down as well.

“The slow starts have been a problem for us, and you can’t get off to a slow start against a really good North Greene team,” Carrollton head coach Matt Goetten said.

“[The zone defense] absolutely [limited us] and I don’t know why. We’re facing zone after zone, and we’re not a great three-point shooting team. Gabe and Ethan [Brannan] can heat up, and when that happens, we can get them out of that zone.”

Jones still scored 11 points to lead the Hawks. Ethan Brannan added nine, and Kyle Waters chipped in seven.

“They did frustrate Gabe, and we want him to get to used to driving to the basket. I don’t mind him shooting three’s, but I want him to see a few go in the basket from the mid-range or block. I think he’s a lot better when he does that,” Goetten said. “When he’s limited we need other guys to step up and tonight that really didn’t happen.”

Carrollton trailed by 14, right before halftime, but Blake Dean swished a half-court shot at the buzzer to give North Greene a 29-12 lead. The Spartans would never let the Hawks back to within double-digits.

The Hawks will play the Triopia Trojans at 5 Saturday night in the third-place game.

More like this:

4 days ago - Thursday, April 11, 2024, Sports Round-Up: Marquette Defeats MELHS In Soccer, Beck Has 4 Goals, Tigers Topple East Side, Carrollton, Calhoun, Win

Today - Saturday, April 13, 2024, Sports Round-Up: Roxana Slips By CM In Baseball, MELHS Dominates East Side, Carrollton Girls, Birds, Win

Apr 8, 2024 - Saturday, April 6 Sports Round-Up: Alton Captures 12th Baseball Win; Birds, Eagles, Take Two, Hawks Softball Moves To 15-0

Apr 9, 2024 - Monday, April 8 Sports Round-Up: Roxana, McGivney, MELHS Record Baseball Wins, Jersey, Carrollton Softball Squads Triumph

Mar 29, 2024 - Thursday, March 28, Sports Round-Up: Marquette Captures Win In Eight, Garrett Has Hat Trick, Jersey, Roxana, Carrollton Also Capture Victories