Lanesville does it, again
It took 81 years for Lanesville to capture its first sectional championship in boys basketball, and only 364 days to win its second.
The Eagles ‘ using solid defense and a brand of unselfish play not normally seen in today’s ‘me me me’ world, and supported by the largest crowd at the sectional ‘ rolled past rival South Central, 62-39, in Friday’s semi-final, then churned out a 55-44 victory over the host Hornets in Saturday’s Class 1A Henryville Sectional title game, which came nearly one year to the day of its previous championship at Borden.
The victory propelled the No. 7-ranked Eagles (21-3) to Saturday’s Franklin Regional, where they’ll face off against No. 5-ranked Orleans (20-3). Tip-off is slated for 10 a.m., followed by a matchup between No. 8 Jac-Cen-Del (19-3) and un-ranked Morristown (14-9), which upset top-ranked Hauser in overtime of its sectional semifinal.
‘We’ve worn a target all season long, and it’s like I was telling someone else, we’ve been the hunted all year. That’s a tough badge to wear, but the kids have handled it well. I’m very fortunate to have had them,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘Last year, I think we may have snuck up on some people and did some things I don’t think were necessarily expected of us. This year, that wasn’t the case. I think we got everyone’s best shot night in and night out.’
The sectional’s Most Valuable Player, Lanesville senior Chris VanHoose, notched 21 points in the final to lead all scorers. VanHoose, who averaged 18.3 points for the tournament, was joined on the all-sectional team by senior Matthew Beckman and junior Kenton Acton.
Henryville’s gentleman coach, Perry Hunter, said the Eagles are a very good team and are well coached.
‘They are better than us and I give them all the credit for winning when they were supposed to do it. They stayed disciplined and didn’t panic when we slowed the game down,’ Hunter said. ‘I felt like our kids battled, and at least put (Lanesville’s) celebration off until the end of the game.
‘I wish them luck next weekend. They can go as far as they want. I have watched them play about 15 times this season and I am more impressed every time I see them play.’
The Hornets (12-11) held the lead just once in the game, after sophomore Cory Munk hit a jumper to open the affair.
Lanesville countered with back-to-back triples by seniors David Lieber and Matthew Beckman.
The two clubs swapped baskets the rest of the way, with the Eagles leading at the end of the first quarter, 13-9.
A basket by senior Taylor Hess, coupled with four consecutive free throws by VanHoose, gave Lanesville its biggest lead of the first half, 19-11.
Henryville closed to within four, but the Eagles countered thanks to a three-ball from the corner by senior Seth Jacobs (his only points of the game).
The Hornets got a bucket from Cody Munk, then Acton buried a jumper for a seven-point lead.
With four seconds left in the half, junior Brandon McGloshen, who was pressed into duty due to Cory Munk’s foul trouble, drilled a three from the wing to make it 24-20 at the intermission.
‘I thought Brandon played well off the bench,’ Hunter said. ‘He was much more aggressive offensively in the tournament than he had been all year. The three he hit at the end of the second was huge for us.’
Henryville’s Ryan Boger scored a deuce to kick off the second half, bringing his club to within two points, but the Hornets would get no closer.
Beckman and Lieber scored twos, and VanHoose bombed a trey from the left side for a 31-22 lead with 4:31 left in the third.
Another basket-swapping session ensued, with an inside goal by Acton setting the score at 37-29 at the end of three periods.
An earlier switch to a 1-3-1 defense by Lanesville virtually assured there would be no comeback by the hosts, who could only pull within seven points the rest of the way.
‘When they went to (the 1-3-1), we needed to score and it shut down our penetration and kicking out for threes,’ Hunter said.
Miller said that despite his team’s defensive pressure, he never really felt comfortable with the late lead.
‘I wasn’t comfortable until the clock reached zero,’ Lanesville’s coach said. ‘That’s how much respect I have for Henryville and the players they have.’
Rounding out the scoring line for the winners, Acton scored 11 points, Lieber had nine, Beckman added five, Hess scored four and John Kissel had two.
Henryville’s slow-down game limited the number of shots the Eagles were able to take, but Lanesville still managed to get off 30 shots, hitting 13 (43 percent). The Eagles were 4-11 on threes and sank 25 of 32, including a mark of 11-of-15 in the fourth quarter by VanHoose.
The Hornets, who got 15 points from Cody Munk and 11 from McGloshen, were 16 of 42 (38 percent) from the floor, 4-16 on threes and went 8-10 at the foul stripe after failing to get the line in the first half.
The Eagles won the battle of the boards, 26-21, with turnovers being awash at three apiece.
For the tournament, Lanesville was 58-124 (47 percent) from the field and 10 of 32 (31 percent) on threes.
To no one’s surprise, the Eagles were masters of getting to the foul line, hitting 58 of 81 (72 percent) shots while allowing their opponents only 42 charity tosses (27-42; 64 percent). Lanesville also dominated the glass during the sectional tournament, pulling down a total of 104 rebounds, to the opponents’ 66.
Lanesville’s sectional turnover numbers are a bit misleading.
The club committed 35 fumbles (forcing 33), but due to two of the three games being blowouts, many turnovers came in the waning minutes by the second unit.
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