Trojans win 2 games at Plano; finish in 13th place

Posted 1/3/24

PLANO – The Mendota Trojans finished in 13th place in the Plano Christmas Classic held Dec. 27-30.

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Trojans win 2 games at Plano; finish in 13th place


PLANO – The Mendota Trojans finished in 13th place in the Plano Christmas Classic held Dec. 27-30. After dropping their first two games of the event, the Trojans posted a pair of wins to close out the action.

The Trojans began the tournament with a 57-43 setback to LaSalle-Peru on Dec. 27. The Trojans had lost to the Cavaliers by 41 points at the Colmone Classic in Spring Valley earlier in December.

Mendota fell behind 14-8 after the first quarter, but a strong second period by the Trojans enabled them to tie the score, 30-30, at the break. In the second half, Mendota’s offense went sour as it managed just 13 points over the final two periods compared to 27 for L-P.

Jace Baird was the lone Trojan player in double figure scoring with 13 points. Cale Strouss added nine points and Aden Tillman had eight tallies. Izaiah Nanez led with six rebounds.


Oregon used a strong fourth quarter to glide past the Trojans, 61-48, in the second round of the tournament on Dec. 28.

The Trojans trailed 33-25 at intermission, but they made up all but one point of that deficit in the third period and were down 42-41 entering the fourth quarter. However, Mendota’s offense had trouble finding the basket in the final frame as it managed just seven points while Oregon had its best quarter of the game with 19 tallies.

Tillman connected for five three-pointers on his way to 17 points to lead the Trojans. Nanez contributed 13 points and led with 10 rebounds.


The Trojans broke into the win column with a 58-42 triumph over Lisle in a third-round game on Dec. 29.

Mendota led from the start, going up 13-8 after the first quarter and 27-18 at halftime. The Trojans took control in the third quarter when they outscored Lisle, 20-12.

Tillman burned the nets for 26 points to lead all scorers. He hit four shots from beyond the three-point arc and was a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line. Strouss checked in with eight points for Mendota, while Logan Dewey and Braiden Freeman chipped in with six points apiece. Strouss’s six rebounds paced the Trojans and Nanez had four steals.


Mendota put together two strong quarters and rolled over Sandwich, 76-54, in the 13th-place game on Dec. 30. The Trojans are 7-9 on the season.

The Trojans sprinted out to a 22-8 first-quarter lead, and then when Sandwich was within striking distance after three periods (47-38), Mendota outscored the Indians, 29-16, in the fourth.

Mendota nailed 12 shots from three-point land, including four by Tillman on his way to 19 points and four by Strouss in a 16-point effort. Nanez added 13 tallies, while Dewey handled five rebounds.

(Finals: 1st place – Kaneland 55, Plano 53; 3rd place – Streator 52, Marmion 37; 5th place – Burlington Central 54, Northridge Prep 52; Consolation – Ottawa 72, Oregon 50; 7th place – LaSalle-Peru 71, Hinckley-Big Rock 52; 11th place – Morris 71, Yorkville Christian 47; 15th place – Lisle 46, Newark 31