|Wed, Oct 01, 2014 02:00 AM
|Issue of September 24, 2014
March 19, 2014 | 10:31 AM
Postseason play featured one-possession games in the final moments of Lanesville's two sectional wins the week before. One was a ferocious comeback against Class A No. 6 Christian Academy of Indiana, followed by a nip-and-tuck finale with Rock Creek Academy.
Jack Butcher Arena, site of the Loogootee Regional, had the same tight, dramatic conclusion in the Class A regional semi-final. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they were on the wretched side of the result, falling to a steady rally from Northeast Dubois. The Jeeps (12-12) perked up after a first half in which Lanesville (15-9) led by as many as 16 points to close out a 55-53 comeback victory.
"It's disappointing when you have a lead like that," Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. "You have to sustain it and keep hitting shots. Credit them; they didn't give up or stop playing. We stopped hitting shots."
After pulling down an offensive rebound, Lanesville's Jack Ferree is fouled by Northeast Dubois' Jacob Gress in the second half. (click for larger version)
Capturing the lead came at the right time for the Jeeps. Lanesville only trailed early in the first quarter until the final two minutes. With 1:41 to play, Northeast Dubois' Drew Jacob converted a 3-point play after racing down the hardwood after the Jeeps corralled a long rebound. The addition to the scoreboard gave Northeast Dubois a 53-51 edge.
Lanesville returned to its end of the floor to knot the game at 53 with a Ryan Fulkerson bucket near the rim.
Doing damage in the post, like they did much of the second half, the Jeeps went to Tyler Haas inside, drawing a foul with 47 ticks remaining. Haas, who was 2 of 9 at the charity stripe to that point, sank both freebies.
With the Eagles trailing by two, Lanesville was whistled for an illegal screen. The ball didn't stay in the Jeeps' possession long, as Tristan Linne was called for a travel.
Lanesville's Micah Lane had a shot in the lane to take the lead with 13 seconds left but was blocked by the 6-foot-5 Haas.
Fouling Haas again, the senior missed both free-throw attempts, giving Lanesville one last shot to tie or win. Bringing the ball up the floor with 10 seconds left, the ball was worked to Joe Ferree on the left wing but the 3-point attempt didn't fall.
"We got a look at the end," Miller said. "It was a good look, but it was kind of like the second half, just didn't hit them."
Haas was a load inside, scoring 22 points despite going 4 of 13 at the foul line. His ability to block shots in the final quarter aided the Jeeps as well.
"Something we talked about was (Northeast Dubois) likes to block shots," Miller said. "We didn't use our shot fakes as well as we could have."
While the loss had many decked out in purple stunned as the Jeeps fans celebrated, Miller pointed to the strong year the Eagles had.
"They came around once we got everybody on the same page," Miller said. "Chemistry was there at the end of the season when it mattered."
To start the regional semi-final, the fourth appearance for Lanesville, the Eagles were red hot from the field.
A jumper by Jason Harmon then a Joe Ferree steal led to a Micah Lane bucket to give Lanesville a 4-0 lead.
Harmon continued with his mid-range jumper with two in a row. Northeast Dubois, led by 6-7 Eric Dodson, 6-3 Cameron Riecker and Haas did work scoring inside for the Jeeps. Haas' field goal gave Northeast Dubois a 10-8 lead at one point.
Keeping pace with the Eagles' offense in the first quarter was tough for the Jeeps. Gaining the lead back was Jack Ferree with a triple. The 3-pointer kick-started a 14-4 Lanesville run to close the frame.
Inside the run, the ball swung right to left from Fulkerson to Jack Ferree to younger brother Joe Ferree on the right wing for a 3-pointer. Defense helped carry the momentum, too. Matthew Husband stole a ball in the back court, leading to an old-fashioned 3-point play.
Closing the opening quarter, Jack Ferree made another long ball, leading to a 22-14 edge.
"First half got off to a good start and shot the ball well," Miller said. "I thought we rebounded well in the first half."
The streak of scoring continued to the early part of the second quarter. A 6-0 run helped make the run of outscoring the Jeeps 20-4.
Harmon kicked off the second with a jumper, followed by Husband coming up with another steal in the back court. He dumped off a pass to Lane for an easy lay-in.
Recording his third steal in the opening half, Husband had another in the back court. This time the 6-foot junior took a few steps inside the foul line before putting the ball in with a one-handed dunk.
While the score sent the Eagles' faithful into a frenzy, along with a 28-14 lead, Husband was quickly handed a technical foul. Miller said he was told Husband allegedly hung on the rim, a call he and the hundreds of purple supporters disputed.
"We thought we could get some turnovers out of our trap, and we did," Miller said.
Riecker stepped to the line and made both free-throw attempts. Midway through the second quarter, Lanesville's momentum was slowed by a trio of starters — Jack and Joe Ferree and Harmon — dealing with a pair of fouls each.
Spreading the Jeeps out, Lanesville milked the clock while increasing its lead. Tate Stilger found Noah Frazier on a back-door pass for a bucket, followed by Lane scoring on a give-and-go with Harmon.
Lane's field goal gave Lanesville its biggest lead of the night, 32-16.
Ending the half, Northeast Dubois gained momentum with Riecker hitting a 3-pointer, cutting the deficit to 13 points.
Riecker missed the regular season game against Lanesville, a 69-51 victory for the Eagles, with an illness. He made his presence felt in the sectional, scoring nine of Northeast Dubois' 16 points in the first half. He would end up with 15 and seven rebounds.
Creating Jeeps miscues aided the Eagles in the first half, with many points coming off of nine Northeast Dubois turnovers. In the second half, the Jeeps took better care of the ball, committing three additional changes of possession.
It was a slow and steady chip away at the Lanesville lead. A single free throw by Haas brought the Jeeps within eight, 36-28.
Although offensively Lanesville had struggles in the second half, the Eagles put together an 8-2 run to extend its lead back to 14, 44-30, with two minutes remaining in the third. Field goals by Lane, Husband and Fulkerson provided the Lanesville scoring.
To close the half, Northeast Dubois scored six straight while one of Lanesville's top scorers, Jack Ferree, picked up his fourth foul. Haas scored, then Eric Dodson put in a pair of freebies after being fouled while pulling down an offensive board. To make it an eight-point game, Riecker was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 4.8 seconds left. He made two.
"We got in foul trouble," Miller said. "In the first half, we had Jack, Joe, Jason all with two fouls. I know it was the first half, but, at the time, we were making runs. The momentum went to them at the end of the half and to start the second."
The 6-0 run became a 12-0 run spanning into the fourth quarter. As shots wouldn't fall for Lanesville, including a pair of free throws, the Jeeps capitalized.
Lanesville broke the scoring drought with a Harmon field goal, followed by a steal that resulted in a pair of made free throws by Jack Ferree.
The six-point Lanesville lead, 48-42, with five minutes left slowly disappeared. The Jeeps made 5 of 8 free throws in the end while several points came off of offensive rebounds. The size advantage the Jeeps had on the Eagles took its toll late. They were also able to draw the fifth foul on Harmon, forcing him to sit the final 2:30.
"They hurt us inside a lot, not just scoring, but also rebounding," Miller said. "We tried a few different things defensively but we never did enough."
The game was an obvious tale of two halves. Lanesville dominated play in the first while Northeast Dubois owned the second. A dry spell of Lanesville shooting, tallying just nine points in the final quarter, proved to be the late difference.
"The second half we didn't shoot as well and, defensively, gave up quite a few baskets inside," Miller said. "They took advantage of some offensive rebounds. We couldn't hit shots. That tends to be a bad formula for success."
Three-pointers didn't fall after making three in the opening quarter. Extending their defense in the second half aided the Jeeps.
"Their 1-3-1 slowed us down a little bit, but we called a time-out, adjusted and scored the next couple of possessions," Miller said. "Then, we stopped making them. As we stopped making (shots) and they are making shots, it's a bad formula. It really is."
Attempts to create turnovers, which led to Lanesville's first-half success, didn't happen in the second. The Jeeps simply took better care of the ball.
"They did a good job against our press in the second half," Miller said. "We didn't get back quick enough at times. It seemed to happen at times when they needed a key basket when we looked for a key stop."
Lanesville had a balanced scoring attack. Harmon was the lone player in double figures, notching 12 points. Fulkerson finished with nine, while Lane and Jack Ferree had eight each. Scoring seven points each were Joe Ferree and Husband.
Haas finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Riecker and Dodson had seven rebounds each. Dodson finished with six points.
No. 1 Barr-Reeve (25-1) ended the season for the Jeeps in the nightcap, winning 69-60. In the regional semi-final, Barr-Reeve defeated Trinity Lutheran, 51-31. Barr-Reeve advances to face Clay City in the Seymour Semi-State.
Lanesville was playing some of its best basketball down the stretch. After losing four of six midway through the season, the Eagles turned it on late. They won seven of nine coming into the game against Northeast Dubois.
"Look at big picture. The kids had a nice, successful run. They got a sectional championship," Miller said.
The Eagles graduate a large senior class, consisting of Jack Ferree, Tate Stilger, Fulkerson, Lane, Harmon and Frazier.
"These seniors went out on a high and established things for our younger kids to reach for," Miller said. "I appreciate their leadership and dedication through their four years."
Northeast Dubois 14 5 17 19 – 55
Lanesville 22 10 12 9 – 53
Northeast Dubois (12-12) – Haas 22, Riecker 15, Dodson 6, Jacob 5, Gress 4, Linne 3.
Lanesville (15-9) – Harmon 12, Fulkerson 9, Lane 8, Ja. Ferree 8, Jo. Ferree 7, Husband 7, Frazier 2.
3-point goals – Northeast Dubois 1 (Riecker); Lanesville 3 (Ja. Ferree 2, Jo. Ferree).