Spartans start new winning streak

The St. Joseph-Ogden boys basketball team suffered its first loss of the season during the holiday break although the Spartans still took a sparkling 14-1 record into Tuesday night's Sanagamon Valley Conference game at Clifton Central.

Results of that game were unavailable at press time, but SJO opened January with a 74-51 win against Casey-Westfield on Saturday at the Unity Shootout, which was preceded by a 74-39 home win on Friday night against conference opponent Watseka.
In the win against Casey-Westfield, junior center Brent Schluter scored 14 points in each half en route to a game-high 28 points while senior guard Chase Patton contributed 18 points on the strength of three 3-pointers.

Schluter and Patton stood out against Watseka, with Schluter posting 20 points and Patton adding 14 points. Senior Corbin Hesterberg chipped in eight points as nine SJO players scored in the win, which was SJO's only home game this month.
SJO finished off December by beating Cissna Park 61-44 on Dec. 28 to win the consolation championship in the 16-team small schools State Farm Classic held in the Bloomington-Normal area. It was the second time in a week the two teams had met after the Spartans downed the Timberwolves 51-45 on Dec. 21 to win the Leader Classic.

Junior guard Nate Michael led SJO with 15 points in the consolation championship game played at Bloomington's U.S. Cellular Coliseum while Schluter added 11 points. Patton (nine points), Hesterberg (eight points) and senior guard Aaron Woller (eight points) also contributed for SJO, which led 19-11 at the end of the first quarter, 33-20 at halftime and 40-36 at the start of the fourth quarter before outscoring Cissna Park 18-8 in the fourth quarter.

The Spartans advanced to the consolation championship after beating Rock Island Alleman 44-29 earlier on Dec. 28 in a consolation semifinal game at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Schluter (15 points) and Patton (12 points) led the way for the Spartans, who trailed 13-7 at the end of the first quarter before taking an 18-17 lead into halftime that expanded to 31-23 to start the fourth quarter.

During a 76-48 win against Peoria Christian in a consolation quarterfinal game on Dec. 27 at Normal West High School, three Spartans finished in double figures, led by a game-high 25 points from Patton. Schluter chipped in 16 points while Hesterberg came through with seven points. Michael (eight points) and senior forward Louis Acklin (seven points) also helped out in the balanced scoring effort.

SJO opened the State Farm Classic on Dec. 26 with a 60-53 loss against Prairie Central at Illinois Wesleyan University's Shirk Center. SJO led 12-10 at the end of the first quarter, but trailed 22-20 at halftime and 34-33 to start the fourth quarter before the Hawks earned the win. Schluter paced the Spartans with 21 points while Michael added 12 points. Junior Dalton Walsh and Acklin each finished with seven points. Prairie Central went on to place sixth at the tournament, which Rockford Lutheran won.

SJO will head back to the court at 7:30 p.m. on Friday when it travles south to play at nonconference foe Teutopolis in an effort to extend its winning streak to six games. The Wooden Shoes won a Class 2A sectional last year on the Spartans' home court.


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