2022 Game 7 Recap: Eureka 52, Illini West 41

Eureka began their title defense in fine fashion tonight, finishing with a 52-41 win over the Chargers of Illini West. But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Hornets, especially early. Illini West started this game with a purpose, ahead 15-4 after the first quarter and 23-15 at the halftime buzzer. Eureka was a different team in the second half, outpacing Illini West 37-18 in the final two periods. Junior forward and reigning tournament MVP Tyler Heffren caught fire in the second half, overcoming a slow start to finish with a current tournament-high 23 points. This game reminded this webmaster of last year’s tournament, when Eureka played a very tight game in the first round and then won the rest of their tournament games by an average of 19 ppg.

Eureka (7-3) was not only led by the aforementioned Heffren in scoring (23) but also in rebounding (nine). Justis Bachman (11 points) and Carson Gold (10 points) also finished in double-digits. Jake Morin dished out a game-high four assists. Eureka’s 11 point win was evidenced by their 11-0 bench scoring advantage (mostly due to Gold’s 10). Eureka shot an unbelievable 13-of-17 (76.5%) from FGs in the second half.

Illini West (7-6) featured two double-digit scorers in Drake Mudd (15) and Nolan Deitrich (12). Gannon Bergmann added eight points of his own. Mudd and Bergmann tied the team-high with seven rebounds.

Eureka advances to Wednesday’s Game 16 to face the winner of the Farmington/Brown County first round game. Illini West will face the loser of that same contest at 2:30’s Game 12.

Box Score

Eureka Info
Illini West Info

Chris Derry
December 27, 2022

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