Picking up a conference win, knocking off a rival on the same night and prevailing in a tight game?
Sounds like a good combination.
The St. Joseph-Ogden High School boys’ basketball team delivered on all three accounts during a 54-46 win at Unity on Tuesday night, the third consecutive league win by the Spartans.
SJO held a slim 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, a 26-20 advantage at halftime and a 40-36 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. The host Rockets forced a 46-46 tie with less than two minutes left before SJO pulled away by ending the game on an 8-0 run.
Seniors Payton Cain and Chance Izard helped key the win against the Rockets. Cain produced a team-high 15 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field to go along with six rebounds and four steals. Izard tallied 14 points on the strength of making 4 of 7 three-pointers as SJO held a slim 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter,
increased its advantage to 26-20 at halftime and was ahead 40-36 to start the fourth quarter. Freshman Ty Pence (seven points), senior Payton Grimsley (six points, five rebounds), senior Jordan Kelly (five points) and senior Conner Hodge (eight rebounds) also chipped in significantly for SJO.
SJO (13-6, 3-0 Illini Prairie) gets back in action at 7 p.m. on Friday with a home game against Prairie Central in Illini Prairie play before making a trip to Westville for a 3:30 p.m. nonconference game on Saturday.
Note: SJO found out this week its opponent at the first-ever Illini Prairie/Sangamo Challenge that will take place on Feb. 8 in Tolono. The Spartans will face Auburn at 4:30 p.m. at the Rocket Center, one of 10 games on the day. Other games slated to tip off are as follows: Rantoul against Maroa-Forsyth (11:30 a.m., high school gym), St. Thomas More against New Berlin (noon, Rocket Center), Unity against Illini Central (1 p.m., high school gym), Monticello against North Mac (1:30 p.m., Rocket Center), Olympia against Williamsville (2:30 p.m., high school gym), Prairie Central against Riverton (3 p.m., Rocket Center), Pontiac against Athens (4 p.m., high school gym), Chillicothe IVC against Pleasant Plains (6 p.m., Rocket Center) and Bloomington Central Catholic against Petersburg PORTA (7:30 p.m., Rocket Center).