No one saw this coming. Four of the best teams in the state, all of them undefeated, played quarterfinal games at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament on Thursday. Three of them lost, including No. 1 Curie, USA Today’s No. 12 team in the country.
Danville didn’t just beat the Condors. The Vikings dominated them 71-55. Curie coach Mike Oliver pulled his starters with more than two minutes left to play.
“Danville was terrific, we were awful,” Oliver said. “Guys think they can just walk on the court and win and the other team comes in with more energy.”
This is the third consecutive year Curie and Danville have played at Pontiac, Vikings guard Kendle Moore thought that was a key to the upset.
“We know them, it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row is the saying,” Moore said.
Moore was the driving force behind the upset, he scored 36 points, shot 5-for-9 from three-point range. He’s a dynamic, fast player and a terrific finisher at the rim.
“He plays AAU with a lot of our guys,” Oliver said. “We know he’s a great player and he was just fantastic.”
Elijah Joiner led Curie (10-1) with 16 points. Joiner and Allante Pickens were a combined 7-for-33 from the field.
“We didn’t come out to play,” Oliver said. “We missed layups. They came to play, had all the energy and beat us to every lose ball. We were bad, we were horrible. We didn’t do anything right at all.”
Danville (8-3) was without Caleb Griffin. He’s a starter and nailed the buzzer-beater three-pointer that beat West Aurora in the first round on Wednesday. Vikings coach Ted Houpt said Griffin left for a football camp in Florida, he’s one of the best field goal kickers in the country.
“With four minutes to go in the fourth quarter [vs. West Aurora] the odds were 99.99 percent that this isn’t where we were going to end up,” Houpt said. “I didn’t see this coming. It wasn’t a brilliant game plan, we just came out and played poised.”
Danville will face Benet in the semifinals on Friday.Tags: Curie, danville