The Nashville Hornets advance to the Super-Sectional after a thriller of a championship game, winning 47-45 over Breese Central in overtime.
A couple of Hornet players scored in double figures. Hoepker finished with a game-high 23 points, scoring 17 in the second half. Senior Isaac Turner had 17, which included four three-pointers in the first half.
Senior Kolten Gajewski added 7 points but he was able to grab a few important rebounds during the last minutes to help secure the victory, according to radio station 104.7 WNSV.
The sectional championship game, which was held in Carterville, was a fairly close battle throughout. The Hornets ended the first quarter on top, 13-9, and were up 10 points 23-13 at the half.
The Cougars went on a 5-0 run to cut the lead and were able to inch even closer throughout the third quarter. Breese was up by five points with a little more than two minutes to play before the game was sent into overtime with a tie score 37-37, thanks to a couple of clutch free throws from senior Saxton Hoepker.
The overtime minutes and subsequent Hornet victory could be credited to Hoepker’s tough defense and more clutch free throws from three Hornet seniors who made up the night’s points.
The game also marked the third straight heart stopper and exiting match in the postseason. Nashville came off of a 33-30 win over the Murphysboro Red Devils earlier in the week.
The Hornets also beat SIRR Mississippi conference foe Pinckneyville in the regional championship in an overtime contest.
Up next is the Super Sectional game, which will be held at the Banterra Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The Hornets will face the winner of the Flora Sectional — Teutopolis Wooden Shoes (26-7). The game begins at 7:30 p.m.