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Eagles roll, set to face SC Friday

Lanesville’s boys basketball team entered the Class 1A tournament at Henryville as the odds-on favorite to repeat as sectional champions.
Last night, in a 67-44 blowout of Restoration Christian, the No. 7-ranked Eagles (19-3) certainly championed their own cause with a balanced offensive attack and a swarming defense that allowed just one Lion field goal during one eight-minute stretch.
Three players reached double figures in scoring for the winners, and two others came close in what looked to be a statement game by the Eagles.
‘I thought we played pretty solid up until about the last six minutes of the game,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘The first time we played them (a 74-54 win on Feb. 3) we gave up a lot of penetration towards the basket and outside shots, and we didn’t want that to happen this time. We did a better job of getting out on them.’
David Lieber and Chris VanHoose each marked 13 points for the victors, who also got 10 points off the bench in the form of Evan Hussung and nine apiece by Matthew Beckman and Kenton Acton.
‘There’s a stigma with this team that we’re just Chris, and that’s certainly not the case. Tonight, I think you saw that, because I thought our first guys off the bench played an outstanding ball game,’ Miller said, lauding the play of Hussung, John Kissel, Seth Jacobs and Tom Richmer. ‘They all played a great game.’
Miller went on to point out that VanHoose has recorded double figures (10, 11, 10) in assists in the past several games, adding eight more to the total last night.
The Eagles jumped out to an 11-2 lead before Restoration (7-14) clawed back to 17-12 with 1:17 left in the first period.
VanHoose and Richmer scored inside to jump ahead, 21-12, then the Lions got a three-ball by Jerry Davey to close out the first period scoring, 21-15.
The Eagles pushed the advantage to 11 with 2:29 left, then Evan McGregory scored what wound up being the Lions’ only field goal for the next eight minutes (stretching into the third period).
The dry spell helped Lanesville hold a 38-23 lead at the half, then push the margin to 49-25 with 3:02 left in the third frame.
The quarter ended with the Eagles on top, 51-27.
‘They’ve got eight seniors, and against a seasoned team like that, you can’t get away with some of the things we did tonight,’ Restoration coach Chris Brown said. ‘No excuses. The better team won tonight. They were just physically tougher than we were.’
The Lions actually outscored Lanesville in the final period, 17-16, but by then the Eagles were deep into the bench and the game was well out of reach.
Lanesville shot 27 of 49 (55 percent) and hit one of six three-point tries. The winners were 12 of 19 at the foul stripe, thrashed Restoration on the glass, 41-24, and committed 15 turnovers (only seven with the starters in the game).
The Lions, who were led by McGregory’s 13 points and 10 by Davey, wound up hitting only 14 of 43 (33 percent) from the floor and 5-20 on threes. The squad was 11 of 18 at the line as well.
The contest was played out in front of a surprisingly large Tuesday night crowd. Eagles fans nearly filled one whole side of the H.G. Furnish Gymnasium.
‘I thought our fans did an outstanding job tonight. We sold out of our tickets pretty quick and were left scrambling to find some more,’ Miller said.
Up next for the Eagles is a date on Friday against arch-rival South Central, a team Lanesville has already defeated twice this season (76-67 on Dec. 22; 68-60 on Jan. 5).
‘They are a solid team that has played well all year. They shoot really well and the thing that worries me most is their transition game,’ Miller said. ‘The question is can our kids get up for another game. With it being South Central, I don’t think that will be a problem.
‘We just have to come out focused and roll the ball out there and see what happens.’
South Central has a 13-8 advantage against Lanesville over the past 10 years.
Sectional play at Henryville continues tonight (Wednesday) as Henryville (10-10) takes on Borden (11-9) at 6, followed by a 7:30 battle between Christian Academy (6-13) and New Washington (10-10).
South (11-10) plays Lanesville at 6 on Friday, followed by a game between tonight’s winners at 7:30.
* Note ‘ An especially large crowd is expected to be on hand for Friday’s action, so fans are urged to get to the games a little earlier than they normally might.

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