Jan. 22—DANVILLE — For the Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin boys basketball team to reach a fourth straight Vermilion County title, it had to battle through four tough quarters.
The Blue Devils were able to hold off Salt Fork on Saturday 40-35 to become the first team to win four titles in a row since Armstrong-Potomac was in the middle of their five-year run from 1998-2002.
"It feels great to be a part of that select group," BHRA head coach Gary Tidwell said. "I am proud of my team because they kept their composure. Salt Fork has an excellent team and we knew it would be a battle and a challenge like in the Christmas Tournament and we were fortunate to get that one. Defense won the game for us, we forced them in to turnovers and Hayden Rice hit some key baskets and our guys had some good moments."
Rice had two straight 3-pointers in the fourth quarter that turned a 25-24 BHRA lead into a 31-24 advantage and put it into the drivers seat.
"I didn't get a lot of chances to shoot, but coach said to always shoot confident and after the 3's, we got on top on offense and defense," Rice said. "Our pressure was too much to handle, I think we had 4-5 10-second violations for the game."
Brett Meidel led the Blue Devils with 11 points, while Rice had nine, Ayden Ingram had six and Micah Stanford and Chaz Dubois each added five.
Rice, along with Meidel and Owen Miller, were part of all four years.
"It feels good, especially since Salt Fork is a good team," Rice said. "It is super fun here and the place was packed. The fans got our going. It is like a big high-school court and the fans get you going and it is great."
"It was a team effort and I am proud of our guys and they worked hard this year. We had some seniors that struggled a bit, but they are getting better now," Tidwell said. "They are practicing and putting the time in and we are proud of the whole team, even the guys who didn't play that much. They had to replicated Salt Fork in practice and that was hard to do with their big boys."
Meidel, Stanford and Ingram was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Salt Fork coach Andrew Johnson said that the Storm had chances, but could not take advantage of them.
"Turnovers and free-throw shooting was the summary for us. There were key moments where we didn't take care of the ball and there were a lot of misses at the charity stripe," Johnson said. "You have to be happy to put yourself in those situations, but you have to get them done."
Blake Norton led the Storm with 12 points, while Garrett Taylor had 10, Jameson Remole had five and Evan Webb had four. Norton and Taylor made the All-Tournament Team.
"In big games, you have to lean on the guys who are experienced and they played well in key moments," Johnson said. "I don't think we got Garrett enough shots, but he was still efficient."
In the third place game, Oakwood beat Hoopeston Area 48-42 and just like the Blue Devils, the Comets had to rally big in the fourth to get the win.
"I thought we showed some toughness. Hoopeston has some good players and they played hard," Oakwood coach Jeff Mandrell said. "We shot the ball well and when we got it to a 5-6 point lead, I thought we can get the win."
Brody Taflinger had 17 points to lead the Comets, while Hobick had nine, Alec Harrison had eight and Tanner Pichon and Jackson Dudley each had six points. Hobick was named to the All-Tournament Team
"Dalton was out with foul trouble and some other players came through and we were able to get rebounds, which was tough against their big kid (Hoopeston Area's Kendrick Sigerill)," Mandrell said. "I thought we tightened up and played well down the stretch. We struggled in this tournament the last few years, so to get three wins was very good."
Sigerill had 18 points for the Cornjerkers, while Anthony Zamora had eight points, Preston VanDeVeer had six and Owen Root added five. Zamora was named to the All-Tournament Team.
In the first game of the night, Georgetown-Ridge Farm was able to beat Westville 37-36.
Cameron Steinbaugh had 13 points for the Buffaloes, while Aaron Maquet and JJ Hall each had 10 points. Maquet was named tot he All-Tournament Team
Drew Wichtowski had 15 points for the Tigers, while Kamden Maddox added12 points and Landon Haurez scored five. Wichtowski was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Armstrong-Potomac's Kollin Asbury was also named to the All-Tournament Team.
The title game ended the first time in many years the tournament returned to DACC and according to players and coaches, it was a success.
"I think it was a great decision to make the move," Tidwell said. "It is a good venue for the players. It gives the players more of a high school esthetic and we want to be prepared for that in postseason and the crowd was on top of you. It was a fun atmosphere and the social media was excellent. We are happy for the switch and we can't wait to come back in the future."
"It is a great environment and it can get you ready for a regional or a sectional," Johnson said. "This is a learning opportunity and we have to execute better down the stretch. They played really well and they earned the win."
"I love playing here. I think it is great playing here and have been very accommodating and they have more locker room space," Mandrell said. "I think it is a more passionate environment. It is great to play in front of a louder crowd."