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Lanesville Barr-ed from state final, 46-43

A week after being the heartbreakers, Lanesville’s boys basketball team was heartbroken.
Taking the best No. 4-ranked Barr-Reeve had to offer in overtime at Saturday’s Class 1A Seymour Semi-state, the No. 7-ranked Eagles were just 43 ticks away from a first-ever trip to Conseco Fieldhouse when the Vikings delivered a coronary catastrophe.
The first arrhythmia came on a three-ball by sophomore Ethan Knepp to tie the game at 43-all. Lanesville whittled the clock down to 18 seconds and called a timeout to set up the game’s final play.
Only it never happened.
The ball was inbounded to Lanesville’s Matthew Beckman, who initially looked as though he was going in for a lay-up against Barr-Reeve’s Nicholas Duncheon. Beckman pulled the ball out, however, to go for the final shot.
‘He did what he was supposed to do,’ Lanesville head coach Mikel Miller said. ‘We talked during the timeout that we wanted the last shot and he was trying to bring it back out.’
Beckman attempted a pass to teammate John Kissel, however Knepp stepped in and came away with the steal for heart flutter number two.
After setting up its own final plan during a time-out, Barr-Reeve brought the ball up court under token pressure with 12 seconds left. Knepp dished off to Mark Rohrer, who made a couple of moves at the top of the key before passing to Josh Pielemeier on the right side.
In one fluid motion, Pielemeier caught the ball and immediately went up for a 23-foot jumper, with the outstretched hand of Lanesville junior Kenton Acton in his face.
The sphere sliced through the Jackson County air and splashed through the twine with 2.7 seconds left.
Out of timeouts ‘ and no defibrillator in sight ‘ the Eagles were done.
The monotone sound of the final buzzer at Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium signified Lanesville’s dream season was flat-lined, 46-43.
As the horn blared, a throng of Barr-Reeve fans stormed the court, while some 2,000 Lanesville supporters stood in shock and silence.
‘This was probably the best game I’ve been associated with,’ Miller said. ‘You’ve got to give (Barr-Reeve) a lot of credit. It wasn’t necessarily that we lost the game. It was, they won it. They hit three big 3s right there at the end. The winner was about a 25-foot shot and we had a couple of guys there. I told the boys it was just (Barr-Reeve’s) day.’
The Vikings (23-3), who face top-ranked Oregon-Davis (26-1) in this weekend’s state final, took just three shots in overtime. All three were treys, and all three found nothing but net.
‘It came down to a last shot and we’ve been on both sides of that. We’ve had a few where we’ve won like that, but today it just wasn’t in the cards for us,’ Miller said.
Miller was referring to a pair of last-second victories by his club at the Franklin Regional, including one buzzer-beater against Orleans.
Early on it looked as if the contest was going to be decided long before the final horn.
Senior Chris VanHoose, who scored a game-high 23 points, scored twice, and Acton dropped in a deuce for a 6-0 lead.
Barr-Reeve finally broke the ice at the 2:28 mark on a trey by Pielemeier, which sparked a 7-0 run to the end of the first quarter horn. Pielemeier scored again, and Duncheon had a put-back as time expired to give the Vikings a 7-6 lead.
‘We were dominant on the defensive end early on. We cleaned the boards well. A lot of times it was just one-and-done for them. We missed three or four easy baskets underneath in the first four or five minutes,’ Miller said. ‘We got a lot of open looks but they just weren’t falling in the first quarter.’
The two clubs swapped baskets through the midway point of the second frame, but with 3:47 left and the Vikings up by two, 22-20, Lanesville rallied.
Kissel scored inside, then VanHoose had a personal 6-0 run capped by a buzzer-beating put-back of an Acton miss to give the Eagles an 18-14 advantage at the intermission.
‘We talked at halftime about getting more movement and execution on offense. Defensively, our man-to-man was pretty solid all game. There was just a few times we let them get loose and they hit some big shots,’ Miller said.
Barr-Reeve surged ahead in the early going of the third quarter, taking a 20-18 lead two minutes into the stanza. Lanesville stayed close, however, and thanks to a deuce by David Lieber, and a triple by VanHoose (again at the buzzer), the Eagles were able to maintain their four-point lead heading into the fourth period, 29-25.
The lead changed hands five times over the course of the first five minutes, with a VanHoose bucket inside knotting the contest at 35-all.
Duncheon hit two frees at his end, which were countered by a pair of pressure-packed free throws by VanHoose with 1:12 remaining.
Lanesville had an opportunity at one more bucket before the end of regulation, but Knepp stripped Taylor Hess, who was set to go in for a lay-up. Barr-Reeve had two chances to win the game in regulation on a three by Pielemeier and a put-back by Knepp, however both were off the mark.
VanHoose scored the first points of the extra period from the free throw line, and Pielemeier answered with a three. VanHoose scored again, then Lieber came up with a steal at the other end. Beckman made the most of the turnover by netting two frees with :55 left in the contest.
‘We had the lead late and had some opportunities to put it away, but you have to give them a lot of credit for fighting back and they hit some big shots when they needed to,’ Miller said.
Duncheon, a 6-6 senior center, led his team with 15 points, Pielemeier, who was held to just two markers in the Dec. 30 matchup between Barr-Reeve and Lanesville, scored 13 and Knepp scored 14.
The Vikings were 17 of 40 (42 percent) from the field, including 11 of 19 (57 percent) in the second half. Barr-Reeve was 6-14 on threes, and 6-of-8 from the foul line.
After VanHoose’s 23, Lieber scored six, Hess, Acton and Beckman all had four apiece, and Kissel scored two.
‘Chris played great and will be missed. We’re going to miss all the seniors. They all contributed in some manner that was important for us this year,’ Miller said.
Lanesville was 15-35 (43 percent) shooting, 1-6 on threes and went a perfect 12-12 at the foul stripe. The Eagles out-rebounded Barr-Reeve, 25-21, with both squads committing 11 turnovers each.
‘It was a fun ride. Unfortunately, we just came up one game short,’ Miller said. ‘I just want to thank the community, the administration, the players and their families, my family, and everyone even on down to the bus driver for their support. The fire department and police department gave us escorts, we had a great staff of statisticians and managers this season, and Lanesville Food Mart helped us. There are just so many people to thank. I know I’ll leave someone out, but I have to give thanks to everyone who was a part of this.’
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— VanHoose, who is being recruited by the likes of Hanover, IUPUI and several smaller college and juco programs, finished his career as Lanesville’s all-time scoring leader with 1,619 points in 97 games, an average of 16.7 points a game for his career.
He received an invitation last week to take part in the first-ever tryouts for the coveted Indianapolis Star Indiana All-star Team, which will take place March 25 at Ben Davis High School. Activities will begin at 10 a.m.
VanHoose was one of only three Class 1A players invited to the tryout, which is part of the process to pick the players for the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star series.
The tryout is open to the public, and admission is $5 per person ($2 for preschoolers). The 2007 Mr. Basketball winner and boys All-Star team will be announced April 8.