MONMOUTH – In his final game donning the Eureka colors of Kelly green and white, Keegan Zimmerman reached a milestone and set a single season standard on Feb. 20.
Unfortunately, it was all in vain, as the Hornets lost 50-47 to regional host Monmouth-Roseville.
Eureka (19-11) missed on their first seven field goal attempts before Zimmerman got them on the scoreboard at three-minute 17-second mark of the opening quarter. That hoop gave him points 999 and 1,000.
“It (was) really important we continued to defend and rebound,” said Hornets’ coach Tim Meiss of attempting of shake off the cold shooting.
Eureka led 10-5 at the close of the period.
The Titans (15-14) did not start much better from the floor, as they were one of seven.
A pair of three-pointers from Rylan Heinrich (14 points) in the third period ignited M-R, who eventually built their largest lead of 45-35 in the fourth,
“We knew they probably had two guys who could shoot it,” Meiss said. “We lost a couple of guys and they made us pay.”
The Hornets got as close as three on two occasions, including the final score, which Matt Martin accounted for with a triple.
With Eureka down 47-44 with 13.5 seconds left. M-R’s JC Sells stepped to the free throw line for a one-and-bonus. He missed the attempt, but the Hornets were unable to secure the rebound. Sells was fouled again and made one of two to bump the lead to 48-44.
“We lost seconds and lost points,” said Meiss. “There’s so many plays that happened during the game. You cannot really pin it on one play. We missed shots.”
Zimmerman, who over a stretch of the second quarter and into the third scored 15 consecutive points, ended up with a game-high 28. This was despite the 6-foot-7 forward seeing multiple defenders every time he touched or shot the ball.
“We knew they were going to double him,” pointed out Meiss. “We just needed guys to make plays to try to loosen things up.”
Eureka’s next highest scorer was freshman reserve Trevor Heffren with seven.
Jamonny Skinner’s 16 points led M-R, who won despite turning the ball over 23 times and converting just seven of 12 at the charity stripe.
“We were well-scouted. They tried to take away our strengths,” Meiss remarked. “They pressured us, got up in our face and made us rush shots. You have to tip your hat to them (M-R).”
The hosts' season ended with a 39-32 defeat to West Hancock in the Feb. 22 final.