Lions Prove Greatness Once Again


Maryn Vaughn, Sport Reporter

CARTERVILLE – The Carterville Lions played their final home matchup against the Harrisburg Bulldogs on Tuesday night, and the seniors gutted out one final home win with a 66-54 final score.

Before the game, all of the seniors involved in a winter sport were recognized for the outstanding efforts and hard work they had put in throughout their high school careers.

Head coach Shane Hawkins used the memorable night to display the depth of his senior lineup. Seniors Brock Shasteen, Maddox Crain, Kade Lustenberger, Blake Burkey, and Adam Vanderzille had the opportunity of starting the night off right for the Lions and their fans.

After a quick basket from Vanderzille, Shasteen pulled up for a flashy 3-point basket, making the Lions’ fans go crazy. With the help of two missed free throws from the Bulldogs, Burkey chose to continue the momentum with a basket of his own.

The Bulldogs saw the Lions’ early lead and showcased their athleticism later in the 1st quarter. The 1st ended with the Bulldogs leading 15-12.

The 2nd quarter began with Caden Hawkin‘s full-court pass to Vanderzille, who laid one off the glass for 2. After another basket made by Hawkins, Burkey proved his talent with back-to-back baskets of his own. The offensive approach gave the Lions some much needed motivation going into halftime tied 24-24.

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“I just had fun playing with my 4th grade [travel] basketball team. Same kids, same style, same chemistry,

— Adam Vanderzille

The 3rd quarter was a big one for the Lions. With back-to-back 3’s from Burkey paired with a 3-point basket from Hawkins, the Lion fans were on their feet.

Senior Peyton Bittle sank his two free throws, giving the Lions a big lead against the Bulldogs. After being fouled, Bittle, Hawkins, and Lustenberger all made their free throws to continue the Lion momentum. The Lions were up by 10 at the end of the third, 48-38.

With time winding down on the seniors’ last chance on their home court, Coach Hawkins decided to sub out his seniors he has coached for a countless amount of years. With a shake of the hand and a hug from Hawkins, the boys took the bench one last time to watch their underclassmen teammates bring home the win.

“I just had fun playing with my 4th grade [travel] basketball team. Same kids, same style, same chemistry,” said Vanderzille, reflecting on his time spent with his teammates.

The battle ended with a score of 66-54, favoring the Lions.

If you wish to keep up with Lions Basketball and all of our winter sports, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @CartervilleAth.