Sullivan Prevails Against St. Clair In Low-Scoring Battle

Shots weren’t easy to come by Friday in the eighth annual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Unable to shift their offense up another gear or two, Sullivan had to resort to grinding out a victory over St. Clair through their defense.

Jacob Rohrer and Cameron Cunningham swatted away two shots in the final two minutes and the Eagles converted just enough free throws down the stretch to deny St. Clair a chance at the upset, winning 34-26.

With Cody McKinney and Landon Hoffman stuck on the bench in foul trouble between the third and fourth quarters, it gave St. Clair an opportunity to overtake the Eagles.

Sullivan refused to surrender the lead and hung on for their second Four Rivers Conference win. They improved to 7-1 in the Coaches vs. Cancer series against St. Clair and have won the last six contests.

Both teams slumped through the first quarter, with McKinney and Calvin Henry swapping 3-pointers and Frye hitting a short jumper to give the Eagles a 7-5 lead.

Sullivan’s offense was dormant from there. A seven-minute scoring drought was snapped by Rohrer with 3:03 left in the half to give the Eagles a 9-8 lead.

Hoffman added the next seven points. The capper was a 3-pointer with 1:03 left, but it was countered by Justin Hoffman’s trey on the next possession.

Sullivan led 16-13 at the half.

After spending the final four minutes of the first half on the bench, McKinney returned to provide a much-needed jolt for the offense. He scored on a drive and a 3-pointer to open up a 21-13 lead. 

St. Clair immediately cut the deficit back to four courtesy of Michael Hughes. 

With the Eagles up 21-17, McKinney was called for his fourth foul and went to the bench. 

Hoffman fouled St. Clair’s Justin Hoffman on a 3-point attempt with 1:43 left in the third quarter. It was Hoffman’s fourth.

St. Clair’s Hoffman hit two of three free throw attempts to get the Bulldogs within 21-19, but for the second straight game, Cunningham gave Sullivan’s offense a shot in the arm.

He launched a 3-pointer with 38 seconds and banked in a put-back with three ticks to go. Sullivan led 26-19 after three quarters and all five of Cunningham’s points were crucial.

Kamalei Bursey quickly responded with five points for the Bulldogs, including a three-point play that got Rohrer tagged with his fourth foul. The Eagles’ lead was down to 26-24.

Sullivan brought McKinney and Hoffman back into the game with just over five minutes left. It was Frye scoring in the paint to give the Eagles a 28-24 lead. McKinney followed with two free throws to push the lead to six.

After a pair of free throws from Henry, the Bulldogs had a chance to make it a one possession game. Rohrer tipped away a shot near the baseline, the ball deflecting off St. Clair. 

Lewis would split two free throws with 55 seconds left and on the following possession, Cunningham rejected Henry’s shot. 

Sullivan Independent News

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