Stepping into the role of giant killers for the second time this season, Lanesville’s boys basketball team recorded one of the biggest victories in the program’s history on Saturday night.
Playing in front of a fire marshal’s nightmare ‘ a gymnasium so full that even longtime Lanesville coach Jerry Reinhardt had trouble finding a place to sit ‘ the Eagles, ranked No. 10 in last week’s Class 1A poll ‘ rode the back of junior guard Chris VanHoose and toppled top-ranked and previously-unbeaten Orleans, 71-53.
On Dec. 29 in overtime, Lanesville defeated No. 9-ranked and also previously unbeaten Shawe Memorial, but that triumph paled in comparison to Saturday’s war.
VanHoose netted a career-high 39 points on 9-13 shooting and connected on 18 of 20 free throws, including 10 of 11 in the final period of the historic victory over the Bulldogs. For added spice he added four rebounds and five assists.
For the season, VanHoose is averaging 23.4 points a game, which stands as ninth-best in the state.
‘That was by far the best performance I’ve seen from a Lanesville basketball player since I’ve been here. Across the board, those were some really good numbers he put up,’ Eagles head coach Mikel Miller said. ‘As for the program, (the win) has to be up there pretty high. I don’t think Lanesville has faced too many No. 1 teams before, let alone beat them.
‘We knew it would probably be a good game and right now we’re happy, but we’re humble. We feel very fortunate to come away with a win. Orleans is a very good ball club.’
The victory vaulted the Eagles (11-2) from 10th to to sixth in this week’s Associated Press poll, while Orleans (10-1) fell to fourth from the top spot. Hauser, at 10-0, is the new No. 1 team in Class 1A.
In addition to VanHoose’s unbelievable offensive performance, several other key stats led to Saturday’s conquest.
Lanesville was incredibly efficient from the floor, hitting 21 of 39 (54 percent) shots, just as effective from the line at 25 of 28 (89 percent) and dropped in four of nine tries (44 percent) from beyond the arc. Probably the biggest statistic of the night ‘ outside of the final score ‘ was how the Eagles crushed Orleans on the glass: 31-13.
‘It’s not just the margin, but when those rebounds came,’ Miller said. ‘Dave (Bachmann) was an animal inside. He was dominant on the boards.’
Midway through the first quarter, there was no clear-cut favorite in the tussle as the two clubs swapped baskets.
With 4:44 left and his team trailing by one, 8-7, VanHoose started a personal 7-0 run that included a couple of dazzling drives to the hoop. The quick flurry put the Eagles up, 14-8, and brought on a timeout from Orleans head coach Tom Bradley.
Bulldogs senior Josh Smith ended a three-minute dry spell with a soft jumper. The score was countered by back-to-back buckets inside by Bachmann, who finished the night with a double-double (14 points and 12 rebounds).
Orleans got two points back on a goal by Ken Steward, but VanHoose buried a three from the left side just before the quarter buzzer to give his club a 21-12 lead.
‘Getting off to a fast start was very important for us,’ Miller said. ‘The last three years we’ve played Orleans, we’ve always got off to a slow start and spent the rest of the game using a lot of energy playing catch-up.’
The Eagles maintained their lead for most of the second period, with a bank shot by Evan Bridges in the final few ticks putting the hosts up by 10, 32-22.
Orleans opened the third quarter with an offensive flurry that had the visiting crowd in a tizzy.
Josh Smith scored twice and Deven Trueblood hit inside to make it a two-possession affair, 32-28.
With 6:23 showing, Smith picked up his third foul, then with 5:33 left in the quarter he picked up his fourth.
To that point, Smith had scored 14 of his club’s 28 points.
Orleans’ Jacob Mathers sandwiched four points around a Jonathan Robinson basket, but it would be the last of the Bulldogs’ offense for the remainder of the quarter.
Over the next 3:40, Bachmann, VanHoose and Matthew Beckman produced an 8-0 run for the hosts. Despite a last-second three-point try by Beckman being waved off, Lanesville was still able to extend its lead to 44-32 at the final stop.
‘We played a lot better tonight because (Beckman) was involved in the offense. Matthew was pretty effective at times and hit an early three to get us going,’ Miller said.
Mathers and Tyler Atchison helped bring Orleans to within seven with 4:36 left; however, a quick 6-0 spurt by the hosts effectively put the game away.
Beckman finished with 10 points and four rebounds, Robinson scored four and Bridges and Taylor Hess each tacked on a deuce apiece.
‘This game should provide us with confidence, not arrogance, but confidence, for the rest of the season. We should be able to compete with everyone on our schedule.
‘All we’ve done with this win is make the target bigger on our back. Orleans was getting everyone’s best shot and now we’re going to get everyone’s best shot for the remainder of the year,’ Miller said.
Despite the 18-point setback, Orleans posted solid numbers.
The Bulldogs were 21 of 45 (47 percent) from the field and 10-11 at the line while committing only five turnovers (Lanesville had nine). Smith led his club in scoring with 22 points, and Mathers added 14.
‘Smith is a tremendous player in the paint. He gets the ball and he’s so quick. It’s very hard to stop him, because he knows what to do with the ball once he gets it,’ Miller said.
The Eagles will try to pull an oh-so-rare rare county sweep at home on Friday as they host North Harrison in a 6 p.m. jayvee start.
Lanesville defeated Corydon Central on Nov. 26 and knocked off South Central twice in the past month.
As was the case on Saturday, parking is at a premium so fans are urged to get to the game early.
Game notes ‘ Orleans’ first loss last season came against Crawford County on Jan. 14, the same date as Saturday’s setback; there were a couple of scuffles and some verbal sparring between fans of the two teams following the game, but cooler heads prevailed and order was restored.