BLOOMINGTON — Ryan Barth was effective from 3-point range Tuesday night, sinking 4 of 7 from outside the arc. Yet, it was an old-fashioned three-point play from Barth that proved the most pivotal for Fieldcrest High School.
Barth's inside basket and free throw off a pass from Jonathon Panzica pushed a two-point lead to five with 1 minute, 47 seconds left at Shirk Center. The play sent the second-seeded Knights to a 43-39 quarterfinal victory over No. 7 Tri-Valley in the 104th McLean County Basketball Tournament.
"Johnny found me there. I was wide open off a cut," said Barth, who scored a game-high 23 points. "I think my guy went to go double him. I stayed with my cut and it led to that and-one. It felt good.
"When you're only up two and you get an and-one, it kind of fires the guys up a little bit."
Fieldcrest advanced to Friday's 8 p.m. semifinal against No. 3 Tremont, a 64-31 winner over No. 11 Blue Ridge in Tuesday night's second game.
Barth had 11 first-quarter points as the Knights (13-3) broke out to a 17-6 lead. Tri-Valley (13-7) stuck with its game plan of slowing the tempo and worked back to within 25-21 at the half.
The Vikings led 30-29 after a four-point third quarter for Fieldcrest, but the Knights regained the lead for good by scoring the first five points of the fourth quarter ... a 3-pointer by Barth and a 5-footer from his brother, Drew.
"I thought when they took the lead we upped the tempo a little bit more," Fieldcrest coach Matt Winkler said. "Our pressure got a little more active and our offensive transiton got a little quicker.
"Ryan Barth and Grant Jochums (eight points, eight rebounds) really stepped up big for us tonight."
Ryan Barth grabbed six rebounds, while Tri-Valley was led by Adam Coulon's 11 points off the bench. The Vikings suffered a double-digit loss at Fieldcrest earlier in the season.
"I thought we played our hearts out," Tri-Valley coach Jon Nelson said. "Our goal was to try to spread it out and attack. We felt like we had some possible advantages at certain positions. Our kids did a really good job of controlling the tempo."
Both teams were without regulars because of ankle injuries: Jake Griffin for Fieldcrest and Will Dolk for Tri-Valley.
Tremont (13-4) closed the first half on a 9-0 run to take a 31-19 lead, then outscored Blue Ridge 10-1 to start the third quarter for a 41-20 cushion.
"We gave up two field goals in the second quarter," Tremont coach Troy Schmidt said. "We just kind of established ourselves defensively. We kept it it simple for them and we were more disciplined there."
Tyler McDonald, a 6-4 senior, led Tremont with 15 points. Max Bolliger added 13 and 6-5 Connor McDonald had eight.
"It was a fantastic effort by the boys," Schmidt said. "We just took care of business today. It's nice to put a game plan in place and have the kids follow through with it."
Blue Ridge (6-13), the defending champion, was paced by Chase Zimmerman's 10 points.
"Their length bothered us," Blue Ridge coach Kyle Watson said. "They have tremendously long arms and they shot the ball very well. That's a credit to Troy and his program."