Live by the three, die by the three is a mantra that many teams employ and Lincoln Trail College's men's basketball team found itself on both ends of that spectrum this week.
Coming off a big win Monday that saw LTC knock down 13 three-pointers in an upset win over Lake Land in the opening round of the NJCAA District 16 Tournament, the Statesmen were outgunned by a hot-shooting John A. Logan squad Wednesday (March 7).
The end result was the second-seeded Volunteers taking down the 10th-seeded Statesmen, 96-61, in their quarterfinal matchup at Rend Lake College.
John A. Logan came out firing, with Jaiveon Eaves hitting a pair of three-pointers to open up a 6-0 lead right off the bat. The Volunteers continued to bomb away, knocking down three more trifectas on their way to a 21-5 advantage, before Casius Bell Jr. knocked down LTC's first three to make the score 21-8.
The deficit for LTC grew as large as 21 on a couple of occasions, but the Statesmen made a run late in the first half to try to stay in the game. Trailing 40-19, LeAaron Cain scored five quick points and Bell followed with a three-point play to close the gap to 40-27 with 1:26 remaining. The teams would trade baskets to keep the margin at 13, but John A. Logan's Ronnie Carson was fouled on a three-point attempt with 0.9 seconds on the clock and he hit all three free throws to give the Volunteers a 45-29 lead at halftime.
Lincoln Trail would get no closer than that margin the rest of the way, as John A. Logan scored the first five points of the second half to push their lead back to 21. The Volunteers led by as many as 39 late in the second half, as they outscored LTC 51-32 over the final 20 minutes to pull away for the victory.
John A. Logan made nearly twice as many field goals as LTC (38-20) in the game, including 11 three-pointers to seven for the Statesmen. Lincoln Trail did hold an advantage at the free throw line, making 14-17 foul shots (82 percent) to 9-15 for John A. Logan (60 percent), but it was not enough to make up the difference from the field.
Cain led LTC with 23 points, including three three-pointers, while Bell tossed in 18 points with three threes. Justin Williams posted 10 points, Kendall Jones netted four and Todd Smith, Deante Booker and Lawrence Williams each scored two.
All but one of the 13 players that played for John A. Logan scored, including three in double figures. Eaves led the way with 17 points, including five three-pointers, while Vonnie Patterson tossed in 15 and David Sloan scored 11.
In other quarterfinals Wednesday, top-seeded Vincennes rolled past eighth-seeded Kaskaskia 81-45, fifth-seeded Shawnee knocked off fourth-seeded Wabash Valley 68-65 and third-seeded Southwestern Illinois beat sixth-seeded Olney Central 104-101 in overtime on a half-court shot by Jalaam Hill at the buzzer.
Lincoln Trail ended its season with a 10-21 record.
2018 NJCAA District 16 Men's Basketball Tournament
At Rend Lake College, Ina
Lincoln Trail College 29 32 - 61
John A. Logan College 45 51 - 96
LINCOLN TRAIL (61)
Justin Williams 4 1-2 10, Todd Smith 0 2-2 2, Kendall Jones 1 2-2 4, Chuchu Enechionyia 0 0-0 0, LeAaron Cain 7 6-7 23, Casius Bell Jr. 6 3-3 18, J.T. Counts 0 0-0 0, Deante Booker 1 0-0 2, Lawrence Williams 1 0-0 2, Kendall Williams 0 0-0 0, Hunter Ragan 0 0-0 0, TOTALS 20 FG, 14-17 FT, 61 TP.