Trojans handle Bureau Valley, fall to Kewanee & Stillman Valley

Kewanee defender Catrelle Reed gets a hand on the basketball as Mendota’s Jace Baird goes up for a shot on Jan. 20 at the MHS gym. (Reporter photo)

A fast start propelled Mendota to a 72-58 victory over Bureau Valley in a Three Rivers Conference varsity boys’ basketball match-up on Jan. 17 at the MHS gym.

Izaiah Nanez keyed the first-quarter uprising as he hit three shots from three-point land to vault the Trojans into a 17-8 advantage after the opening stanza. Nanez added another trey in the second quarter and Mendota took a 30-16 lead to the locker room.

The Trojans placed four players in double figure scoring, led by Rafael Romero with 18 points. Nanez ended with 17 points, while Isaac Guzman (11) and Jace Baird (10) also hit the double-digit mark.

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Mendota couldn’t keep pace with Kewanee in dropping a 52-45 conference decision to the Boilers on Jan. 20 at the MHS gym.

The Trojans, who dipped to 2-4 in league play, held a 12-11 lead after the first quarter. Mendota still owned a one-point margin late in the half before the Boilers got consecutive three-pointers from Catrelle Reed and Brady Clark to take a 26-21 to intermission.

Kewanee led by as many as seven points in the third period, but an 8-2 scoring binge by the Trojans allowed them to grab a 32-31 lead with 3:30 left in the quarter. However, Mendota went scoreless over the remainder of the stanza and Kewanee tallied the final six points to take a 37-32 advantage to the fourth quarter.

Mendota hung around in the fourth and got to within two points on a Romero hoop with 2:56 to go, but the Boilers scored eight of the final 11 points in the game to preserve the victory.

Romero’s 14 points topped the Mendota scoring chart, followed by Cale Strouss with 10 and Nanez with nine.

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Mendota came up on the short end of a 59-57 score to former Big Northern Conference foe Stillman Valley in nonconference action on Jan. 21 at Stillman Valley.

The Trojans were down 14-7 after the first period, but fought back to within two (24-22) at the break. A strong fourth-quarter comeback by Mendota fell short.

Nanez had a huge offensive game for the Trojans (8-17), dropping in five three-pointers on his way to a 26-point effort. Guzman was next with 13 markers, while Romero supplied 12 tallies.

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