Lanesville soars from start, tops rival South
Lanesville carried its recent momentum on its home court Friday, leading from the get-go to drop rival South Central 75-65.
Making it seven wins in their last eight contests, the Eagles put up plenty of points while coming up with key stops when they were needed most.
‘In this streak, our offense has been OK,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘I still think it can be better. We’re averaging 70 points per game, and I’m not complaining, but I still think it can be better. Our defense is inconsistent, but at the times we’ve needed key stops, we’ve gotten them for the most part.’
The host team led by as many as 12 during the game, but the pesky Rebels wouldn’t let the Eagles pull away farther. Lanesville led 53-46 entering the final quarter when South Central put together its best shot at flipping the scoreboard.
South Central’s Bobby Sampson, who finished with a game-best 23 points, outscored the Eagles 10-5 to open the fourth. While No. 32’s run of points pulled the Rebels within two, Miller encouraged his team to seek out three consecutive stops. It took until after Sampson’s jumper to cap his run for the Eagles to deliver.
Inside the final six minutes, Lanesville came up with stops while finding its way to the foul line. Combining for five straight Eagles’ points by way of the free throw, Justin Miller and Harrison Wells gapped the lead back to seven.
Off the bench, Wells provided a spark all game, including key moments in the final quarter. His put-back, along with an Alex Ansman steal and lay-in with three minutes to go, pressed Lanesville ahead by 10 late. The margin, along with free throws late, prompted the Eagles to assure the victory in front of a swagged-out student section.
‘Late in the game, I called a time out and told the guys we need three stops in a row,’ Miller said. ‘The first possession, we don’t hedge on a high screen and then they hit a 3. Then, the next few possessions we did get a few stops in a row … We’re getting key defensive stops, but we just have to get it the whole game.’
Justin Miller banged around in the paint with counterpart Jason Boston much of the night. Miller came away with a double-double, scoring 17 and pulling down 13 boards.
‘Jason and Justin battled all night,’ coach Miller said. ‘Justin ended with 17 points but struggled from the field. He felt afterwards it was his worst game of the year, but he still got 17 because he got some offensive rebounds and made some free throws.’
South Central coach Ryan Crick was disappointed with his team’s effort and believes after the game he was more upset than his players were at the result. It was drastically different than when his team shocked the Eagles last season.
‘Last year, I didn’t say anything before this game and they went out there and played their butts off,’ he said. ‘This year, they killed us on the glass. They scored on what seemed like every offensive rebound. I think our toughness and heart needs to be looked at because, tonight, it was not there.’
Seven South Central turnovers in the first half, along with a fast Lanesville start, aided the Eagles. Ryan Fulkerson nailed a pair of triples in the opening quarter, allowing Lanesville to lead 21-13.
Gaining life in the second quarter, South Central went on a 6-2 run to start. Open 3-pointers, however, were nailed by the Eagles. Jack Ferree had two, while Wells swished one from the right corner.
‘Harrison (who finished with 15 points), I told him after the game, was the difference for us,’ Miller said. ‘His effort on both ends of the floor ‘ defensively, attacking the basket on offense, his energy, getting offensive rebounds ‘ was tremendous for us.’
Four Eagles reached double figures with Ferree tallying 16 and Fulkerson 10. Ansman had nine points and four assists.
South Central was able to cut the margin to seven at halftime. Both teams scored 15 points in the third quarter, setting up the last run by South Central in the fourth.
‘We came out not playing for ‘us,’ instead played like individuals,’ Crick said. ‘I called several time outs, but we had guys with ‘deer in headlight’ looks tonight. What I don’t get was tonight, when we turned the ball over, we’d turn and look for a whistle or just stop playing. That hasn’t been us all year.’
Zack Goodwin had 12 points and eight rebounds for South Central, while Kyle Pease contributed 10 points and four assists. Boston closed with nine rebounds and points.
‘Our biggest thing is defense,’ Miller said. ‘We’re still a work in progress with it. There are things we do better at, but some things still aren’t there. It’s getting them all to buy into the defense and playing it the entire game.’
Lanesville made 5 of 10 3-point attempts but struggled at the foul line, going 20 of 32. South Central made good work at the charity stripe, making 19 of 22 attempts.
Crick said his team was lost at times when switching defenses.
‘We’d always have one or two guys lost on that end when we made a switch,’ he said.
Miller said he was pleased with the effort his offense gave against South Central’s multiple zone looks.
‘They play a lot of 1-3-1 and 2-3; you have to attack it a lot different than if you saw a man, but we were able to find some gaps,’ Miller said. ‘You have to be precise with what you are doing. I thought we did a very good job getting the ball to the middle or the baseline. Then, once we got it there, we had a lot of open looks.’
Lanesville will hit the road Saturday to face Class A No. 10 Orleans at 7:30 p.m. South Central, meanwhile, has some time before its next contest, which will be Jan. 18 when Crothersville visits Elizabeth for homecoming.