CHRISTOPHER - Sometimes you can measure success by the scoreboard. But for the 2017-18 Tornadoes, success is being measured in growth. And, while this very young team was winless in their three games at the Thanksgiving tournament last week, much progress was made.
Zeigler-Royalton opened the 43rd Annual Christopher Turkey Tournament against Webber Township. The Trojans returned four starters from a team that had much success last season. The Webber experience and size advantage carried them to an 83-33 victory.
Senior Cole Sanders and freshman Landen Bate led Z-R in scoring with six points each. Gannon Dollins and Trevor Mills contributed five each.
The second game found the Tornadoes up against a newcomer to the tournament, the New Athens Yellow Jackets. New Athens, another opponent that held a size and experience advantage, took the contest, 79-50. Sanders and Dollins tallied the majority of Z-R's points with 17 and 15 respectively.
Assists and rebounds were up from the first game and turnovers down, showing encouraging progress.
Z-R continued its improvement in the final game of the tournament, but was on the wrong side of the score once again, losing to Waltonville 59-50.
Sanders and Dollins once again led the scoring for Z-R at 13 points each. Dollins was also tops in the rebounding department with nine.
"I thought for the most part we played a pretty good game," said Z-R coach Matt Morgan. "We had some mental lapses defensively that hurt us, but those things will fix themselves with more experience and understanding. Our overall composure and effort is something I am very proud of."
Morgan added that the team will continue to improve over time.
"I feel like we improved each game. When we fully grasp that and start executing, I think you will see us take more steps forward."
Next up for the Tornadoes is a rematch with Webber Township at Zeigler on Friday, Dec. 1.