Basketball

DU QUOIN, Ill. — Nashville took advantage of cold field goal shooting by Harrisburg to overtake the Bulldogs in the second quarter of Wednesday’s IHSA Class 2A sectional semifinal here.

When Harrisburg never regained its shooting touch, the Hornets continued to pull away in the second half to register a convincing 71-49 victory, ousting the defending state champions from the 2A tournament series.

Nashville (24-7) advances to Friday’s sectional championship game against Mt. Carmel (22-8), which downed Carterville, 65-56, Tuesday. It will be a rematch of last year’s semifinal, won by the Hornets, 72-66,  in overtime.

Harrisburg (17-11) led 16-11 at the end of the first period, but Nashville outscored the Bulldogs 14-5 in the second quarter to carry a 25-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Bulldogs shooting woes never let up in the second half, as they finished 16-of-47 from the floor for 32 percent on the night.

Nashville, meanwhile, fired away at 20-of-45 accuracy for 44 percent. The winners sizzled at the foul line as well, hitting 27-of-33 for 82 percent.

“It was a great team win,” said Nashville coach Brad Weathers on his post-game radio show on station WNSV. “Early in the game, we had a couple of people in foul trouble. We had some other kids who really stepped up,” he said, taking note of 6-foot senior Kyle Jasper and 6-foot-3 senior Hunter Beetly, who came off the bench.

Nashville’s Royce Newman, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, was in foul trouble much of the night, and eventually fouled out in early in the fourth quarter.

Guard Keegan Anderson led Nashville with 18 points, followed by Daniel Thorson and 6-foot-6 senior Clint Johannes with 15 points each.

Bahari Amaya paced Harrisburg with 13 points.

Nashville enjoyed a 31-23 advantage on the glass.

The win was Weathers’ 501st career victory in 28 years as a head coach, the last five years at Nashville following a 23-year stint at Carlyle.

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