Lanesville comes up short in final
For most of the game Saturday night, the Borden 1A sectional final was back and forth with players hitting big shot after big shot for both the host school Borden and Lanesville.
In front of a raucous crowd in a packed gymnasium, Borden pulled away midway through the fourth quarter to take the sectional for the second consecutive year and fourth time since 2008.
For Lanesville head coach Mikel Miller, the difference was simple.
‘For a two- or three-minute span, they made a couple baskets and we didn’t,’ he said.
At around the six-minute mark of the final quarter, Lanesville senior big man Justin Miller scored inside to give the Eagles what would end up being their last lead, 43-42.
On Borden’s next two possessions, Cody Bachman converted field goals while being fouled and also nailed the free throws to create the most separation the game had seen since the first quarter, 48-43, with 4:48 to play (Borden also led by five, 14-9).
Lanesville would not get any closer the rest of the way.
From there, the Eagles couldn’t seem to make the shots they had all night to stay close. Lay-ups rolled off the rim, runners couldn’t find the bottom of the net and three-pointers sailed amiss and the result, after poised free shooting by Borden, was a 59-50 final margin.
Miller said he was proud of senior Justin Miller and the entire team for not giving up and continuing to play hard.
Justin Miller led the team with 12 points, right on his season average.
‘He played well for us all season, he was a key for us,’ coach Miller said. ‘They worked hard keeping him from getting the ball. I’m proud of his effort. I’m proud of the whole team.’
Miller gave Borden credit for being a very ‘solid’ team.
The first quarter of action was an up-and-down, intense eight minutes.
Lanesville’s Jack Ferree buried two early threes to give the Eagles a 6-5 advantage. Lanesville then attacked with the press, and Alex Ansman came away with a steal and save while going out of bounds leading to a lay-up for Ryan Fulkerson to knot the game at nine.
Behind a three from Jalen McCoy, Borden took a five-point lead, 14-9, but Lanesville answered with another 3-ball from Fulkerson to close the gap to two at the end of the first quarter.
The 3-ball continued to fall for Lanesville in the second quarter for Ferree, cutting the Borden lead to 16-15.
McCoy and Bachman combined to keep Borden in front the rest of the half, but Miller did all he could to keep Lanesville close, only down a deuce at the break, 23-21.
The third quarter was Lanesville’s best, the only one in which it outscored the Braves.
After basically trading baskets to open the half, Matthew Husband buried a big three to draw the Eagles within one, 28 to 27.
Bachman again came up big for Borden with an bucket ‘and one’ free throw, and the lead continued to fluctuate from three to one for Borden, that was until back-to-back scores from Kevin Zollman and Ferree gave Lanesville the lead, 39-38, which the Eagles would take into the fourth quarter.
Behind field goals from Husband and Miller, Lanesville was able to secure its final lead, 43-42, before Bachman began the Borden onslaught.
Coach Miller said anyone who paid for a ticket to the game got their money’s worth.
‘The crowd was great,’ he said.
Justin Miller said he told his coach and teammates that they needed to give it their all and leave it all out on the floor that night.
‘Have no regrets,’ he said.
The senior said he believed they did that, but it just didn’t go their way.
‘Some things work out in life and some don’t,’ he said.
Behind Miller’s 12 points, Fulkerson and Ferree pitched in 11, and Husband finished with 10 to lead a balanced attack for Lanesville.
Bachman, who missed last year’s sectional win because of injury, was the game’s high scorer with 18. Billy Kirchgessner (12), McCoy (12) and Garrett Vick (10) also tallied double figures for Borden. Only one other player, Michael Lynch (7), scored for the Braves.
Borden defeated Lanesville on the same floor in November, 76-68.
Borden (20-3) will move on to the Loogootee Regional to face the winner of the West Washington Sectional, Orleans (13-10), a team Lanesville defeated on the road in January.
Lanesville finished the year 14-9 with a couple impressive wins, including at Orleans and 19-point beat-down of Crawford County.
It was a bounce-back year of sorts, after completing last season with an 8-13 record, including a first-round sectional loss to Borden.
The seven seasons before that, all under coach Miller, Lanesville not only finished with winning records, but the Eagles had an average of 16 wins per year.
Lanesville will lose five seniors: Miller, Ansman, Zollman, Harrison Wells and Daniel Cox.
‘They set us on the right path; they’re going to be leaders in their lives,’ coach Miller said. ‘We have five really fine seniors. I think they taught us a lot this season about team unity and hard work.’