Green Wave overtakes Rantoul

Kam Rome drives to the basket en route to two of his-team high 20 points at Mattoon on Thursday. (Ryan Birch/Rantoul press)

 

MATTOON – A nightmare second half led to the Rantoul Eagles boys basketball team fallingto Mattoon on Thursday 80-46.

The Eagles were in the game for the entirety of the first half despite the Green Wave being in the bonus less than seven minutes into the game and Mattoon hit seven straight threes in a stretch between the first and second quarters. 

After the first eight minutes Mattoon led 16-11. Kam Rome had seven points in the first quarter to pace the Eagles. 

The offense continued for Rome and picked up for both teams as the Green Wave outscored Rantoul 21-19 in the second quarter, giving Mattoon a 37-30 halftime lead. Rome had 10 points in the second quarter, giving him 17 at the break. 

Rantoul coach Ryan Parker said the team really competed in the first half.

“Well, we played hard and didn’t really let adversity get us,” Parker said.  “They were hot. They hit eight threes in that first half. Only being down seven, I still felt good.”

Things got messy for Rantoul in the second half. The Eagles were outscored 21-10 in the third quarter when the threes continued to fall for the Green Wave. Mattoon hit a total of 13 treys on the night. The Eagles only hit four. 

The secondhalf nightmare continued for Rantoul in the fourth quarter. Mattoon finished the final eight minutes on a 22-6 run. 

Parker said not much went as planned for the Eagles in the second half.

“The second half we had a lot of things go wrong. Our defense wasn’t there, and I told the guys that we are not going to score 80 points. We don’t have that offensive firepower,” Parker said. 

Kam Rome led the Eagles with 20 points and seven rebounds. Colin Wilkerson chipped in 11 points and five rebounds. The rest of the scoring was rounded out with Lorenz Lee with five points, Bryant Shaw had four and Jamari Bufford and Deionte Space had three. 

Rantoul now heads into conference play, and Parker hopes the tough schedule prepared the Eagles for this part of the season. 

“When you play tougher schools it can go two ways. I hope it goes positive for us where we get better and learn from this,” Parker said. “These guys shouldn’t be down. We showed we can play the first half against the big schools so hopefully we start to put together 32-minute games.”

The Eagles have yet to play a conference game. One of their main goals is still in reach.

“Right now with the record the way it is we are playing for conference and regionals, that is all there is to it.

“We are not going to get a 20-win season or anything like that. But like I told the guys this is also building for next year. We have to find guys who are committed to doing everything the right way. The rest of this season is crucial for us.”

Kam Rome led the Eagles with 20 points and seven rebounds. Colin Wilkerson chipped in 11 points and five rebounds. The rest of the scoring was rounded out with Lorenz Lee with five points, Bryant Shaw had four and Jamari Bufford and Deionte Space had three. 

The Eagles bounced back with a home win on Saturday night against La Sallete Academy out of Georgetown 56-47. 

You can contact Ryan Birch at Rbirch@Rantoulpress.com or on Twitter @RyanBirchRP