Limestone High School head coach Eddie Mathews hypes his team up

Limestone High School head coach Eddie Mathews hypes his team up before their game against Montgomery County on Sunday at Hickman High School. Limestone won the game 49-2.

With 26 seconds left in the third period and the game tied 48-48, the Limestone Rockets huddled around head coach Eddie Mathews. He captured their attention, drawing a new play for the varsity basketball players.

It was a fight down to the very last second for the for the Limestone Rockets as they were just one point shy of claiming victory over the Booneville Pirates during the second annual COMO Shootout basketball tournament.

Roman Canty dribbles the ball during the varsity boys basketball game

Roman Canty dribbles the ball during the varsity boys basketball game between Hickman and Bishop Leblond on Sunday at Hickman High School. The COMO shootout began Saturday morning at 8 a.m. and the last game started Sunday a little after 5 p.m.

The Rockets and the Pirates were among 20 teams from all over the state participating in the tournament hosted by Hickman High School's boy's basketball team on Saturday and Sunday.

"It was a tough loss because it was so close, and I think we should’ve pulled it out, but we’ll get them next time, I guess," Rockets player Andrew Taggert said.

Limestone High School's Jalen Sanders watches his team from the sidelines

Limestone High School's Jalen Sanders watches his team from the sidelines on Sunday at Hickman High School. The Limestone Rockets travelled from Bartonville, Il. to play in eight total games at the second annual COMO Shootout. Hickman turned the main gym into two smaller courts to run more games at one time.

Taggert, a rising junior at Limestone High School in Bartonville, Illinois, has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember and now serves as a shooting guard for the varsity team.

"It’s a family," Taggert said. "We all work really hard together when we practice every day — we’re like brothers, all of us."

Despite their loss, Taggert said the team was two and two so far in the tournament and ready to tackle their last two games.

Limestone Community High School point guard Drew Taggart defends a Montgomery County player

Limestone Community High School point guard Drew Taggart defends a Montgomery County player at the second annual COMO Shootout on Sunday at Hickman High School. Taggert scored nine points in the game.

"We have a lot of heart and we play really hard," Taggert said.

Coach Eddie Mathews said this tournament gives his team the opportunity to play against strong competitors, learn from their mistakes and victories, and bond as a team — even on the "stinky bus on the ride home," he said. "It’s all good for them."

Nick Kespohl, 10, watches his brother play at the COMO Shootout

Nick Kespohl, 10, watches his brother play at the COMO Shootout on Sunday at Hickman High School. Kespohl raced onto the court during each timeout to shoot baskets before the teams returned to the game.

This year’s athletes are younger than previous Limestone High School varsity teams with several underclassmen and only one senior. 

“I have a renewed enthusiasm with their youthfulness,” Mathews said. “I had a more veteran group and they were seniors graduating in 6 weeks, and now I got a young group.”

As a coach working with young high school students, Mathews said he has lots of opportunities to teach the athletes lessons about character.

“Being a good teammate, having high work ethic, the ability to get along with others and the ability to walk away from a situation that’s not so pleasant,” are all important lessons he tries to teach the young men, Mathews said.

Jordan Rooney drives the ball down the court during the game

Jordan Rooney drives the ball down the court during the game against Bishop Leblond on Sunday at Hickman High School. The COMO Shootout hosted teams from around the state.

The team has several goals for the remainder tournament.

"We want to come together as a unit, we want to get better in our different offenses that we run and we want to get better in our team defenses," Mathews said. "It's just about improvement."

Roman Canty pushes through the defender towards the basket

Roman Canty pushes through a defender towards the basket against Bishop Leblond on Sunday at Hickman High School. Hickman brought a varsity, junior varsity, and freshman team to the event.

Supervising editor is Libby Stanford.

Recommended for you

Join the conversation

When posting comments, please follow our community guidelines:
• Login with a social account on WorldTable.
• Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language or engage in personal attacks.
• Stay on topic. Don’t hijack a forum to talk about something else or to post spam.
• Abuse of the community could result in being banned.
• Comments on our website and social media may be published in our newspaper or on our website.