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Borden’s hot start too much for Eagles

Borden’s hot start too much for Eagles
Borden’s hot start too much for Eagles
Lanesville's Bryant Conder attempts a shot over the block attempt from Borden. The Eagles had a tough time in the first half getting shots to fall versus the Braves. (Photo by Brian Smith)

An overflowing crowd packed the Class A Henryville Sectional Friday night for the showdown between sectional favorites Borden and Lanesville. Early in the game, the Braves opened a sizable advantage, eventually taking home a lopsided 60-40 victory and a spot in the championship game.
In the opening minutes, Jeffery Hammond hit a 3-pointer for Lanesville to draw the game even at 5-5.
From there, the Borden defense picked up and the Eagle shots failed to find the bottom of the net. Over the next 10 minutes, Lanesville was held to zero points as Borden exploded with 21 consecutive points.
Lee Kirchgessner hit two 3-pointers during the run. Michael Chester nailed a long ball, too, in the second half, pressing the Borden advantage to 26-5 in the second quarter. Lanesville’s John Kissel ended the run with a drive and layup.
‘It was something we’ve talked about, we needed to get off to a good start,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘That has been their thing during their streak over the last 10 or so games.’
Lanesville was able to hold Borden scoreless over the final four minutes of the first half. However, the Eagles were able to score just one more field goal, a bucket from Brandon Mullen, before the half ended, with the score at 26-9.
‘We couldn’t get good shots to fall when we got (defensive) stops,’ Miller said. ‘Obviously, you’ve got to make shots. You can only play tremendous defense for so long, and at some point you’ve got to make shots. But Borden really challenged our shots and got after us.’
Miller added that Borden is a well-disciplined team on both ends of the floor.
Borden coach Doc Nash said after the game that the first half was probably the most perfect half he could have envisioned.
‘We were able to get a couple shots to go down on our end of the court, building our confidence, and then we were able to force them into shots that they probably were not comfortable with,’ Nash said. ‘And maybe more importantly than anything else, we rebounded their misses. Their length and ability to score second-chance points is what really concerned us coming into the game.’
Lanesville found its shot in the second half. Out of the locker room, Kissel connected on two field goals, one a 3-pointer. Dalton Wagoner fired back with a Borden field goal. The Eagles then cut the lead, to 31-17, when Jarrett Beach converted a 3-point play.
Looking for momentum to slide the Eagles way, Borden wouldn’t allow it to happen. Chance Clark went to the other end of the court and converted a 3-point play of his own.
‘We got within 14 and that was the closest we got back in it,’ Miller said. ‘They came right back down and got a 3-point play. That was kind of the story of the night.’
From that point, the game went as expected, back-and-forth with both teams putting up 17 points in the third quarter. Lanesville was unable to string together a significant run to get within striking distance.
‘There weren’t a whole lot (of) difference between both teams; they just got off to a lot better start than we did,’ Miller said. ‘We struggled to get into our offense, and I think a lot of that had to do with their defense. I thought our kids played hard, didn’t give up and kept fighting until the very end.’
Kissel finished with 10 points to lead the Eagles. Bryant Conder finished with eight points, and Beach tallied seven. Hammond closed his Eagle career with a six-point, eight-rebound performance.
Kirchgessner led Borden in scoring with 14 points, and Drake Potts contributed 13.
The Eagles graduate seven seniors: Walker Horton, Asher Pursell, Cody Schultz, Cameron Teeter, Beach, Kissel and Hammond. Each has had at least a share of the Southern Athletic Conference title during the past four years.
‘This is my 11th year here; most of those (players) were in first grade when I first met them. I’ve watched them grow up, and they’ve let me be a part of their life. I’m a better person for being able to be around those boys,’ Miller said. ‘I saw all of them improve on the court but, as we told them afterwards, they showed a lot of dedication and leadership during the four years they were here. Those are qualities that will certainly enhance their life.’
The Eagles concluded the season with a 16-6 record. Borden went on to defeat New Washington, 63-40, in the championship game.
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