CAI holds on for shocker against Lanesville
For seven minutes, during the third and fourth quarters, Lanesville couldn’t finish shot attempts against Christian Academy of Indiana during last Wednesday’s first-round game of the Class A Henryville Sectional.
The Warriors, winners of one regular season game, took advantage of Lanesville’s missed opportunities to pull out the upset, 52-48.
‘It’s not the way you want to end a season but give a lot of credit to (Christian Academy),’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘They guarded and played well tonight. I think early we struggled finding, getting and making shots. They got some shots to fall early.’
The defending regional runner up Eagles trailed the entire first half but found themselves down, 22-21, at the break. The Eagles had rallied back at the start of the second quarter. Junior Caleb Caldwell knocked down a triple to tie it at 24. After exchanging points, the Eagles took the lead, 28-26, for the first time on a field goal from senior Joe Kissel.
In the paint, sophomore center Justin Miller made good on four straight free throws, putting Lanesville up, 32-29. Senior Gregory Lieber vaulted the lead to six when he used a cross-over dribble to free himself to bury a 3-pointer.
‘When we got that six-point lead, I thought we had that momentum,’ Mikel Miller said. ‘It was the time when we went to our trap. We could’ve had a steal and widened it more, but they slipped a pass and made an easy one.’
During the final 1:43 of the third quarter, Christian Academy was the lone team to add points, a Landon Mindle trey.
Heading into the fourth quarter, up 35-32, the Lanesville offense struggled from the field. During the next five minutes, the Warriors took the lead with a 6-0 run that included four points from Chris Carruthers.
Lanesville cracked the scoring column in the fourth period with a Justin Miller field goal, inching back to a 38-37 deficit.
‘Towards the end, we got a lot of good shot opportunities; we just could not finish,’ Mikel Miller said. ‘It wasn’t like we were taking bad, poor shots; we just couldn’t get shots to fall. The kids played hard and never gave up. They battled and battled; it just didn’t happened.’
Senior Chris Gayhart eventually tied the game at 39 with a layup inside two minutes to play.
The Warriors took the lead with another Carruthers basket followed by free throws from Mindel.
Gayhart kept Lanesville’s hopes alive when down 47-42 with 26 seconds left. He buried two 3-pointers in the final 16.7 seconds, the latter pulling the Eagles within two at 50-48 with 5.8 left.
Lanesville stopped the clock with a time out, but confusion out of the break led to a tough end. The Eagles were assessed a technical foul for having six players on the floor. Miller McCorkle hit both free throws, sealing the upset win.
‘We had people confused at the end out of a time out,’ Miller said. ‘I told the kids that was my fault. I didn’t make it clear enough who was in at that time. It happens when you have a couple kids with fouls, switching offense for defense. We just got caught with too many players.’
Christian Academy avenged the regular-season game won by the Eagles, 68-56.
In the first half, the Eagles dealt with foul problems as Gayhart and Caldwell picked up two each within the first four minutes. The Warriors took advantage, building an early 10-3 lead.
Lanesville (12-10) was paced by Gayhart and Miller with 14 points, while Kissel added six.
‘A lot of people probably wouldn’t have put us here at this point in time,’ Miller said. ‘Last year, we lose seven guys with only two back with any varsity experience. This year, we lose four and bring eight back. We have several things we can build on.’
Lost to graduation will be Aaron Borders, Kissel, Gayhart and Lieber.
Christian Academy (2-18) was led by Aaron Hayes and Mindel with 15 points each. In the semi-finals, Christian Academy lost, 53-31, to Borden.