Big Blue Train Derailed
The Little Train that could got derailed by St. Mel (eventual state champs) in the quarterfinal game at Carver Arena in Peoria 66-41, where the Big Blue faced off not only against size, but quickness, and four all-staters.
The nearly 1200 Trojan faithful followed their “Cardiac Kids” with a near-frenzied devotion, and for the first 16 minutes it looked as if that “Little Train that Could” was going to do it again. The Blue and White led at the end of the first period 9-6 and were up at the midway break 26-24 despite going up against 6-10 Taeyon Neal, 6-3 Deion Jackson, 6-4 Tyriel Nelson, 6-4 Tim Ervin, and 5-6 Tim Erin.
The age-old adage is that quickness can nullify size, but when a team has both size and quickness it’s “Katie bar the door.” No amount of determination, grit, and guts can overcome both.
Even though the Trojans had seven turnovers in the first period they still led 9-6. The second stanza saw both teams picking up the tempo. The Knights and Triopia battled back and forth with St. Mel edging out a 18-17 difference, with the Trojans coming out on top at the midway break 26-24. The three Trojan “Amigos” kept the Blue and White nose above water with Zach Thompson leading the Blue and White surge at the half with nine, including a three-pointer at the buzzer. Bell had seven, and Snow posted five.
The Big Blue tied with the Knights in rebounding stats at the halfway mark with 13 boards each, with 6-2 Snow matching 6-10 Tayeon Neal with five boards each. The Class 1A No. 1 state-ranked squad also had problems with committing seven turnovers while Triopia committed nine.