MOUNT ZION -- Charleston and Mount Zion were tied at 21 with 2:46 left in the first half when the Braves went on an 11-0 run over the next 3:29 in the Apollo Conference boys' basketball game Tuesday. Mount Zion led by as much as 17 and went on to win by 14, 64-50.
"We missed six layups in the first half," said Charleston coach Blain Mayhall. "That puts us up if we make those and they were not even contested we just missed them. In the second half their offensive rebounds really killed us. Their transition offense beat us up a little too. It was just disappointing. The kids played hard always. I never question the fact that they play hard. The skill part of the game is what we are lacking right now -- making shots and making good decisions and communication with each other. We are having a hard time with that."
Mount Zion led just 20-17 in the rebound department at halftime, but were outrebounded 24-8 in the second half, with many of them being putbacks for the Braves.
"The sticking your butt into someone and getting a rebound is one thing we struggled with," said Mayhall. "It is the little things in basketball that we are struggling with."
Charleston's Darrell Phillips, who led the Trojans with 19 points, ended Mount Zion's 11-0 run with a basket with 6:57 left in the third. Mount Zion took a 17-point lead with 5;35 left in the game on a basket by Jayse Booker. The Trojans made one final run at the Braves, as Caleb Hurst scored three points and Blake Bonnstetter scored. Phillips made one of two free throws and a bucket off one of 18 Mount Zion turnovers to make it 52-41. The Trojans had a chance to come within single digits with still three minutes left, but Mitchell Binder, who finished with a double-double scoring a game-high 22 points (averaged 8.5 entering the game) and pulling down 13 rebounds, steal and layup iced the game for Mount Zion.
Charleston used a 1-2-2 trap for some of the game and caused Mount Zion to turn the ball over some. "The guys did a nice job of the 1-2-2 when we threw that in there. It is something we are looking at and it did cause a bit of a problem for them. We just have to be better for four quarters instead of a minute here or a minute there. We would go on a run and then not score for two minutes. Those are the things that have got to change."
It was a game of runs in the first half Charleston took a 10-6 lead on a three-pointer by Luke Buescher. It was the largest lead of the game for the Trojans. Mount Zion then went on a 12-1 run starting with a three-pointer by Jonah Smith, the son of former Mattoon coach Bryan Smith, who is an assistant coach for the Braves. Smith scored again on a feed from Corbyn Bender. Phillips tied the game with one of two free throws when Binder scored the final four points of the quarter. Trevor Durand made one of two free throws and Binder's basket put Mount Zion, 4-10 overall and 2-4 in the conference, up by seven.
It was Charleston's turn next as they scored 10 of the next 13 points to tie the game for second and final time. Phillips scored the first six points of the run, including a great pass across the free throw lane by Buescher. Phillips scored again after a three-pointer by Mount Zion's Smith and Hurst tied the game with a bucket. Charleston was 3-of-16 during a span of 14:03 as the game went from tied at 21 to Mount Zion leading 46-30 early in the fourth. The Trojans finished 34 percent from the field compared to 48 percent for the Braves.
Buescher had 13 points and Hurst was also in double digits with 11 points, while Smith had 15 for Mount Zion and Durand had 13.
"They never give up -- they get on the floor and dive after loose balls," said Mayhall." It is the making shots part and the communicating on defense part that hurt."
Charleston, 4-11 overall and 0-6 in the conference, is to play host to Lincoln Friday in another Apollo game.
The Charleston junior varsity fell to 5-2 with a 51-46 loss to Mount Zion despite 14 points by Cade Landrus.
The Trojans led 22-19 at the half, but were outscored 15-9 in the third quarter and 17-15 in the fourth.