July 1, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Cain, Pence help SJO boys’ basketball post two wins

Playing a competitive nonconference schedule is nothing new for the St. Joseph-Ogden High School boys’ basketball team.
The Spartans face some of the best small-school teams each and every season. All in an effort to help SJO come Illini Prairie Conference play and ultimately, the postseason.

Objective completed, at least for the Spartans’ first two league games this season, with rival Unity next on the schedule.
SJO picked up its second consecutive win with a lopsided 61-30 victory at conference foe Olympia this past Friday night in Stanford.
Stingy defense and steady scoring paced SJO in its first league road win.

Freshman forward Ty Pence scored a game-high 15 points to lead SJO against Olympia, with senior guard Chance Izard adding 13 points. Senior guard Jordan Kelly pitched in nine points, while senior forward Payton Cain almost came away with a double-double after compiling eight points and nine rebounds.

SJO led Olympia 17-1 at the end of the first quarter, 35-10 at halftime and 55-20 to start the fourth quarter.
Prior to the win this past Friday, SJO snapped a two-game losing streak with a convincing 66-45 home win against St. Thomas More last Tuesday night.

The Spartans (12-6, 2-0 Illini Prairie) will try to make it three wins in a row at 7 p.m. on Tuesday when they travel to Tolono to take on rival Unity in another conference game.

Cain and Pence proved a potent 1-2 punch against the Sabers. Cain dropped in 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds, with Pence also pouring in 23 points and hauling in seven rebounds. The duo combined to shoot 18 of 31 from the field and 9 of 12 from the free throw line.
SJO took an 18-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, expanded it to 31-14 at halftime and led 45-31 entering the fourth quarter.
Senior forward Conner Hodge (seven points, nine rebounds), Izard (seven points, six rebounds) and senior guard Payton Grimsley (five points, eight rebounds) also made meaningful contributions for SJO.

The win against STM came after the Spartans sustained a pair of nonconference losses at home, falling 65-51 to Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin on Jan. 18 and losing 51-42 to Paxton-Buckley-Loda on Jan. 14.

Izard led SJO with a team-high 23 points against the Blue Devils, but it wasn’t enough in the end. SJO led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter and only trailed 26-24 at halftime before BHRA outscored the Spartans 18-5 in the third quarter to take a decisive 44-29 lead into the fourth quarter. Grimsley (six points), Hodge (five points) and Pence (five points) also chipped in offensively.

SJO led PBL 16-13 at the end of the first quarter and 24-23 at halftime, but trailed 35-32 to start the fourth quarter of its eventual nonconference setback. Izard scored a team-high 14 points for SJO, while Cain (eight points), senior forward Drew Coursey (seven points) and Pence (six points) also contributed.

SJO’s scheduled game on Jan. 17 at Teutopolis was postponed because of inclement weather, the second time in a week where the Spartans had a game canceled because of the weather. SJO also lost out on the opportunity to play Farmington on Jan. 11 at its own Christie Clinic Shootout because of poor weather.
After Tuesday night’s game at Unity, SJO has two more games on tap next week. First, the Spartans will return home for a 7 p.m. game this Friday against league foe Prairie Central. Then, SJO will step out of conference play for a 3:30 p.m. game next Saturday at Westville.

Notes: One more opponent has been added to the SJO boys’ basketball schedule this past week when matchups for the Riverton Shootout were announced. The Spartans will play West Hancock at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15 in the sixth of eight games slated that day in Riverton. Other teams in action at Riverton that day are South County against Lanark Eastland (9 a.m.), Williamsville against Edwardsville Metro East Lutheran (10:30 .m.), Jacksonville Routt against Quincy Notre Dame (noon), New Berlin against Kewanee Wethersfield (1:30 p.m.), Springfield Lanphier against Centennial (3 p.m.), Pleasant Plains against Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (6:30 p.m.) and Riverton against West Central (8 p.m.).

— While the full schedule for the fourth annual Christie Clinic Shootout that SJO hosts hasn’t been finalized yet, a date for the 2021 event and the list of teams that will compete at the event are set. The shootout will take place on Jan. 9, 2021, with SJO, Lanark Eastland, Manteno, Monticello, Tuscola and Watseka the Class 1A/2A teams scheduled to play. Eight 3A/4A teams are in the fold, with Addison Trail, Danville, Kankakee, Mahomet-Seymour, Normal Community, Oak Lawn, Streator and Washington all set to make the trip to SJO.

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