13 down? No problem for Eagles
Lanesville senior Jason Harmon hit the first five points for Lanesville in Friday night’s Class A Borden Sectional semifinal against Christian Academy of Indiana, but the final two points he scored that evening probably are the ones he’ll remember best.
The Eagles, who trailed by 13 points with 6:19 left in the contest, edged No. 4 CAI in a thriller, 63-61, thanks to a pair of Harmon free throws with just 2.1 seconds remaining.
Just moments before and with Lanesville up three, Warriors junior Aaron Eldridge buried a triple from the corner to knot the affair at 61-all with 25 seconds left. Lanesville raced toward its end, with Harmon ending up with the ball on the low post. Harmon attempted a shot but was fouled by 6-10 center Connor Chalfant.
Harmon toed the line and calmly sank the first shot before CAI called a time-out to ice the shooter. No matter, as Harmon buried the second attempt.
A mid-court heave by CAI’s James Martin was off the mark, giving Lanesville (14-8) the improbable victory in front of a packed house.
‘We talked at halftime to the kids ” and I’m not trying to be disrespectful to Christian Academy ‘ we had open shots. It wasn’t necessarily because of defense. We weren’t hitting; we weren’t moving real well offensively, body-wise and ball-wise,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘In the second half, bits and pieces through the third quarter, and then a lot more in the fourth quarter, we got a lot more movement and a lot more passing. We got some drives to the basket and got to the free-throw line.’
The first half was one Lanesville would like to forget. After shooting 25 percent from the field in the first period, the Eagles shot just 23 percent in the second. Lanesville trailed 15-7 at the first stop and 28-16 at halftime. The second half was a different story, with Lanesville going 6-13 from the floor and 3-6 on threes in the third period, and 9-13 from the floor and 2-4 on threes in the final quarter, finishing 22 of 55 (40 percent) on field goals for the game.
Another key to the victory was free throws. Lanesville was 13 of 19 (68 percent) overall but a clutch 11 of 13 (84 percent) in the fourth quarter.
Miller said he still had faith in being able to pull out a win even while down 13 with six minutes left.
‘We’ve had 12 days to prepare for this game. We put time on the clock in practice and said, ‘We’re down this many points. What are we going to do?’ We did tonight exactly what we’d worked on, which was full-court press, denying the ball, getting some turnovers, getting some stops. Yeah, we made some fouls along the way, but we put the right people on the foul line for them, and we executed on the foul line,’ Miller said.
Harmon gave Lanesville an early 5-3 lead, but CAI’s Shelby Rose had back-to-back buckets that pushed the Warriors (15-5) ahead.
Joe Ferree scored to tie the game at seven, but CAI went on a 17-2 run, highlighted by a buzzer-beater by Chris Boaz and a pair of dunks by Rose, to end the first quarter.
Jack Ferree had a field goal to stop the bleeding, and Joe Ferree tacked on a three to cut the deficit to 10, 24-14. Aaron Eldridge and Martin knocked down a pair of free throws around another Joe Ferree bucket to set the halftime score.
Despite a 7-2 spurt fueled by two Joe Ferree triples, Lanesville was unable to make up any ground on Christian Academy in the third quarter as the Warriors maintained a 12-point lead.
The deficit hovered at that mark until Lanesville’s furious rally.
Jack Ferree hit a three that was followed by a triple from Harmon (his first of the season) to slice the deficit to six. Rose hit one free throw, then Joe Ferree had an old-fashioned 3-pointer. Micah Lane hit a free throw, then Harmon followed with two more frees that tied the game at 54.
Nic Reed slowed the run with field goals around Jack Ferree’s back-to-back buckets, then Harmon and Jack Ferree scored for a 61-58 advantage. That’s when Eldridge hit a three-ball from the corner pocket to tie the game, setting up Harmon’s heroics.
‘As we made that run, our crowd started getting into it and getting louder and the kids started feeding off of that. By the end, I couldn’t even hear myself breathe. The fans were tremendous and helped us through the game. Hope we have something left in the tank for tomorrow night,’ Miller said. ‘(CAI) played hard, they played well and, at the end, we just got a few more stops and baskets than they did.’
Harmon and Jack Ferree led all scorers with 20 points apiece, and Joe Ferree added 18. Ryan Fulkerson scored four, and Lane had a single point to round out Lanesville’s scoring.
For Christian Academy, Rose had 17 points, Reed had 14 and Eldridge scored 13 in the losing effort.
The Warriors were red hot from the field all game, going 21 of 36 (58 percent), and they out-rebounded Lanesville, 34-26. The Eagles countered those numbers by committing only four turnovers ‘ all in the first half ‘ and forcing CAI into 18 miscues.
Lanesville 7 9 16 31 ‘ 63
Christian Academy 15 13 16 17 ‘ 61
Lanesville ‘ Harmon 20, Jack Ferree 20, Joe Ferree 18, Fulkerson 4, Lane 1.
Christian Academy ‘ Martin 7, Eldridge 13, Reed 14, Rose 17, Chalfant 8, Boaz 2.
3-point goals ‘ Lanesville 6 (Joe Ferree 3, Jack Ferree 2, Harmon); Christian Academy 2 (Martin, Eldridge).