By FRANK CASH
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
MENDON, Ill. -- Andrew Doyle wanted a dunk in the worst way.
After he was fouled on the shot late in the third quarter, the Unity senior had to settle for a pair of free throws.
"A dunk would've been really nice," Doyle said. "If I hadn't been fouled, I'm sure I would've made (the dunk)."
It capped off a 17-point third quarter for Doyle, who scored a game-high 24 points in the Mustangs' 77-46 first-round victory over Bushnell-Prairie City/Avon Thursday night at the Mississippi Valley Invitational Tournament.
Doyle's performance was the type Keith Carothers had been waiting for.
"We've been waiting for him to do that for a long time," said Carothers, Unity's head coach. "His aggressiveness and the way he gets to the basket makes him so dangerous and such a threat for us."
The Mustangs will try to reach the championship game for the second straight year when they meet Liberty in Friday's second semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Payson Seymour will meet Southeastern in the first semifinal at 6 p.m.
Unity (9-5) led 42-36 at halftime before outscoring the winless Spartans 29-7 in the third quarter.
"Our second half was great," Carothers said. "We really picked up our effort. We were a little sluggish in the first half."
Part of that was a lineup change. Reed Bentzinger has missed the past two weeks with a concussion, and Alex Blickhan missed Thursday's game with the flu. Dylan Shaffer started in Blickhan's place, which moved freshman Adam Donley into the role of first guard off the bench.
Lane Davis scored 17 points for Unity, 14 of those in the first half, while Donley added 12.
The Mustangs beat Liberty 55-52 in overtime on Nov. 27.
"I'm excited to play them again," Carothers said. "We had each other on the ropes the last time. They played well tonight. It'll be a good game."
Liberty 68, Biggsville West Central 59: A 12-2 run in the second quarter helped swing the momentum the Eagles' way.
It turned out to be one of several runs for Liberty.
A pair of scoring bursts in the second half helped the Eagles finish off the Heat after trailing by as many as eight points in the first quarter.
"We finally calmed down. It had been a while since we played," said Eagles coach Andy Douglas, whose team hadn't played since Dec. 15. "I figured we'd have a little bit of a downfall early, but we had a nice little run at the end of the first half.
Kody Leapley scored from the right block with 5:10 left in the third quarter to put Liberty ahead for good at 34-32. A 10-0 run later in the quarter extended the Eagles' lead to 46-35 on Brett Genenbacher's jumper.
Four players scored in double figures for Liberty (7-3), including Isaac Murfin with 15 points, Michael Blewett and Connor Wolf with 12 apiece and Leapley with 10.
It was the first time Wolf had played since the opening week of the season.
"Having a complete roster let us go back and tweak our lineup a little bit," Douglas said. "Being able to go a little deeper on the bench is something that will help us."
Southeastern 55, Quincy Notre Dame JV 33: Todd Fox insists he would've been happy with any margin of victory.
The Suns gave their coach a little more than that.
Trailing 12-11 after the first quarter, Southeastern outscored the Raiders 14-5 in the second quarter to pull away for a first-round victory.
"This was a situation where if we didn't play well, we'd get beat," Fox said. "We knew QND would be dangerous, and they were. They came out and made some shots and did some nice things. I'm pretty happy with the way we turned things around."
Shea Flesner led Southeastern (7-5) with 18 points and Matthew Ramsey added 11. The play of the Suns' two forwards is often a key for the team's success.
"It's no secret, but for us to be successful, we need to play inside-out," Fox said. "As the season's gone on, we're getting better with that. The guards are doing a good job getting the ball inside to our big guys."
Drew Eaton scored 14 points to lead the Raiders (10-4).
Payson Seymour 90, West Prairie 51: The defending tourney champs started quickly, scoring 33 points in the first quarter of their victory over the Cyclones.
Jake Voss and Cody Hildebrand combined to score 19 points in the first quarter as Payson took a 33-10 lead, which the Indians turned into a 54-21 halftime advantage.
Voss finished with a game-high 25 points, while Hildebrand added 21 for the Indians (8-1). Dalton Edwards finished with 11 points, 10 of those in the fourth quarter.