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Zion-Benton felt confident in its ability to dominate the post against Evanston, so the Zee-Bees kept pounding it down low and it paid off big time.
Scoring the first nine points of the second quarter — six coming at the free-throw line — Zion Benton was able to pull away from the Wildcats and coasted to a 71-46 victory Friday in the fourth round of round-robin play at the Lane Thanksgiving Tournament.
"We know we're bigger, stronger and more physical than any team out here," said Zee-Bees star junior Milik Yarbrough, who led all scorers with 24 points. "We played like we're supposed to, men amongst boys."
The two teams fought tooth-and-nail in the first quarter but Zion-Benton (4-0) took a 19-14 lead into the second quarter after a buzzer beater by Kealin McLean.
The Zee-Bees dominated the second quarter and led 39-25 going into halftime.
Evanston (2-2) was never able to pull within single digits in the second half and trailed 51-34 after three quarters of play.
"It was a good win for us tonight," said Zion-Benton's Trent Curry, who finished with nine points. "We didn't have a good time with them (in a loss) last year so we came out with focus."
Chris Moragne and Maurice Young added seven points apiece for Zion-Benton.
Junior sharpshooter Dante Henley led the Wildkits with 16 points as he knocked down four treys on the night.
"We didn't really talk on defense," Henley said. "We had a tough time communicating with each other but we gave them a good run for our money."
Elijah Henry added eight points for Evanston, which faces Lane tomorrow at 5:15 p.m.
Zion-Benton takes on undefeated Notre Dame tomorrow at 7 p.m. for the tournament title.
"We've just got to rebound because they've got a couple good shooters," Yarbrough said. "They run good offense and got a good defense."