2022 Game 26 Recap: Eureka 48, Illini Bluffs 44

The #3 seeded Eureka Hornets became the 12th back-to-back champion in the 76th edition of the Macomb Western Holiday Tournament, defeating the Illini Bluffs Tigers 48-44. The reigning champions started the game strong, getting out to an early 16-10 in the first eight minutes. Tournament MVP Tyler Heffren scored 13 of the Hornet’s first 16 points. Illini Bluffs cut the Hornet’s lead down to four midway through the second quarter, but Eureka pulled away late to take a 27-19 lead at halftime.

The third quarter provided much of the same, as the Hornets enjoyed a comfortable, multi-possession lead throughout. In the fourth quarter, however, the Tigers continued to fight and claw their way back. Illini Bluffs cut the Hornet lead to one possession three different times in the fourth quarter, including to just two points with less than 40 seconds remaining. A pair of free throws from Tyler Tate sealed the four point victory for the Hornets.

It should come as no surprise that Tyler Heffren led all scorers with 27 points, 17 of those coming in the first half. Heffren also led the game in rebounds with 13, six of those coming on the offensive end. Justis Bachman finished with 10 points for the Hornets, as well as three assists and two steals.

For the Tigers, all-tournament team selection Hank Alvey led with a 15 point, 10 rebound double-double. Alvey also led the game with a tournament-high six blocks. Brandon Coats finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks of his own.

Eureka (10-3) is the first back-to-back MWHT champion since West Hancock in 2017 and 2018. Additionally, junior Tyler Heffren is the first repeat MVP since Pittsfield’s Dalton Hoover in 2010 and 2011. Runner-up Illini Bluffs (13-3) garnered their third MWHT trophy and highest MWHT finish ever, finishing third in 2017 and fifth in 2016.

Box Score

Illini Bluffs Info
Eureka Info

Emma Thorman
December 30, 2022

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