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Eagles survive OT thriller vs. South

Despite being only a few miles apart, the boys basketball teams from South Central and Lanesville meet in the state tournament about as often as Haley’s Comet rolls around.
The last time the rivals squared off in sectional play was in 1991, and the Eagles won.
Fast-forward 13 years to last Friday night’s semifinal matchup, and it was Lanesville again coming out on top, this time in overtime.
Nudged to the victory by a pair of free throws from freshman Chris VanHoose with eight seconds left, the Eagles picked up their first win over South Central since Jan. 16, 1998 ‘ a string of 13 consecutive losses.
The Rebels (13-10) led at the first three stops: 16-11, 22-19 and 35-33. To that point, there were six ties and nine lead changes. South never led by more than five, and Lanesville never led by more than four.
‘This was a game you hated to see either team lose,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘It wasn’t pretty for either side, but it was just a well-played game.’
South skipper Greg Robinson concurred: ‘They had control of the game for a while and let it swing back our way, and it was just like that all night long. If you were a fan, it was a heck of a game to see, and everyone definitely got their money’s worth. It was a good game. Both teams played their hearts out.’
South’s Deavon Wiseman and Lanesville’s David Barr swapped baskets to start the fourth period, and Wiseman scored again to give his club a 39-35 lead. After regaining possession on an Eagles’ miss, Wiseman had the ball along the left baseline and faked a shot. Barr bit on the fake, jumped and came down on Wiseman’s back. The collision caused Wiseman to drag his pivot foot and he was called for a travel.
‘That was a huge play in the grand scheme of things. If we score there, we have a big momentum swing that Lanesville might not have been able to come back from. Instead, they go right up on us,’ Robinson said.
Lanesville wound up scoring when they got the ball back, and VanHoose completed a three-point play after a steal by Michael Burres.
The Rebels had gone from a chance to be up six points to be down one, 40-39.
The rest of regulation was just as tight. Lanesville led by three with just over a minute left, and South’s Brad Mercer came through with an old-fashioned three to tie it. Barr put Lanesville back on top with a drive to the hoop, and Mercer followed with a bucket with 17 seconds left to knot it up again.
The last 15 seconds of the game were enough to leave the capacity crowd gasping for air: Mercer came up with a steal on Lanesville’s inbounds play and put up a jumper, which missed and bounced into the hands of teammate Brad Brown. Brown put up a soft bank shot that almost came to a stop on the back iron, then slowly rolled off the side of the rim.
Barr came down with the rebound and raced to the other end, where he had a lay-up attempt swatted away by Ben Hanus. Mercer grabbed the loose ball and dashed near the mid-court stripe and let a 50–footer fly. The potential game-winning shot was just barely off the mark, however, and the contest went into overtime.
In the extra period, the Eagles hit 10 of 11 free throws and committed no turnovers to steal the victory. Included in that bunch was VanHoose’s two frees.
‘We were playing for a second overtime, and we didn’t want to foul. You can’t guard the free throw line. That was a bad break for us,’ Robinson said.
Adam Brown scored 18, Barr put in 16, and VanHoose had 12 for the winners. Jason Ketterer added six, defensive specialists Burres and Patrick Huffman had four points apiece, and David Bachmann had two off the bench.
As a team, Lanesville shot 22 of 48 from the field, out-rebounded South, 25-24, and committed just nine turnovers (none in the final 12 minutes of the game).
South’s seniors scored all but two of the team’s points: Wiseman put in 12, Hanus and Mercer added 11 apiece, Wilkerson scored 10, Josh McRae scored eight, and Brad Brown was held to six points by Burres and Huffman. The only points not scored by a senior was a two-spot by sophomore Chad McRae.
Mercer and Wiseman fouled out late in the overtime.
‘That was our focus, to limit what Brown and Mercer did. They combined for just 17 points, and that’s really why we won the game tonight. It came down to defense,’ Miller said. ‘If someone was going to beat us, it had to be someone else. We had to worry about Wilkerson, too. He hit some big shots, and he’s Mr. Clutch for them. We always get his best game.’
South Central was red-hot from the floor, shooting 23 of 39 (59 percent) but committed 16 turnovers along the way. Lanesville was 15 of 19 at the line, and South was 11 of 16.
‘We never got Brad (Brown) on track. We didn’t do a good job getting him open, and that hurt us,’ Robinson said. ‘A lot of that was a credit to Lanesville.’

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