Eagles soar away late
Lanesville entered the fourth quarter up four points and closed the game ahead by 19.
It was the run the Eagles wanted to close with while rival South Central struggled from the field after starting the game red hot. Dominating both ends of the floor late, the Eagles, behind 21 points from Matt Husband, defeated visiting South Central 61-42 in Southern Athletic Conference action Friday night.
‘I feel like we started talking more on ‘D’ and actually started guarding the 3-point line a little bit,’ Husband said of the decisive final quarter. ‘We switched to man (defense), so that helped.’
Starting quickly in the fourth, Joe Ferree put in a 3-pointer that was followed by several quality plays from senior Gabe Sronce. The 6-foot-1 forward scored inside to put Lanesville up 46-37.
South Central, as it successfully did much of the night, knocked down an outside shot. Half of its 42 points came from beyond the arc, including Alex Goforth’s make to keep the Rebels within six, 46-40.
Sronce, however, played tough in the paint. He followed his own miss with a conversion while getting fouled. On the defensive end, Sronce pulled down a board and sent a quick outlet to Ferree for a deuce.
‘Our senior Gabe Sronce had a nice run for us with some rebounds and baskets,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘I thought he really energized us.’
Following Goforth’s 3-pointer, South Central was held without a field goal the rest of the way, only making single free throws by Zack Goodwin and Cory Ray.
‘The second half we gave up a couple open looks but were much better on our coverage,’ Miller said. ‘By the fourth quarter, some of the shots (South Central) were hitting early weren’t falling. We were getting stops. We played really well the fourth quarter, shutting some things down.’
‘Fourth quarter,’ South Central coach Ryan Crick repeated after the game. ‘We shot 15 percent in the second half after shooting 50 percent in the first half. Lanesville did a lot in the second half to make us play the way we did, but, when we did score, we weren’t getting back in transition.’
Ferree hit three 3-pointers in the game, but his ability to distribute proved the difference in the final frame. He was able to get open looks for Elijah Wilkin on two occasions and Luke Beach for another by ball-faking and getting inside the arc.
‘This week, the first three days of practice, they weren’t allowed to dribble or shoot threes,’ Miller said. ‘We had to do a better job of attacking the basket and stop settling for 3-point shots. We had to learn to move without the basketball. At times, it showed tonight and paid off for us. When guys like Joe used the dribble, he used it more productively.’
Miller didn’t use a time-out until two minutes remained in the game. Out of the break, Riley Cook’s inbound lob to Matthew Husband was on point for an easy bucket, extending Lanesville’s lead to 56-42.
‘The time out I took, I wanted to be clear what we wanted the final few minutes with a double-digit lead,’ Miller said. ‘We’ve had a couple of games this year where we’ve lost some leads in the same situations. We didn’t want to let this one slip away.’
Crick said that, in the final portion of the game, his squad struggled with the team aspect of the game, an area that found success in the first half.
‘Right now, we are struggling to get five guys on the same page,’ he said. ‘We’re trying to fix that. In the fourth quarter, when we got down, it turned into ‘me’ time. We have to stay together as a team. We did that in the first half. We were right there.’
The start of the game was in South Central’s favor. The Rebels scored two quickly with Ray hitting a jumper and a long ball. They would lead 9-4 after a Goforth bucket, but, then, Ferree’s stroke came alive. He netted consecutive long balls, prompting a Crick time-out.
Turnovers by the Eagles ‘ five in the first quarter ‘ helped put South Central up 16-15. As the game progressed, Lanesville cleaned up on the offensive end, coughing it up just five additional times the rest of the way.
South Central led 16-15 after the first quarter, but Lanesville started to take a little edge in the second. Wilkin had a bucket then took a charge on the defensive end. Ferree added three 3-point field goals, while Husband turned a Rebels’ turnover into points.
Lanesville led 25-22 but gave up a triple to Sutton Day on a kick-out pass by Goodwin to knot the game at the break. From beyond the arc, South Central was five of seven in the first half.
‘They did not miss early,’ Husband said. ‘We couldn’t figure out how to guard it. We’d get out on them, and all three of those guys made them.’
Day closed with 15 points, followed by Goforth (13 points) and Ray (nine points).
South Central started after the break with some momentum, a 7-4 run, but defense by Cook kept Lanesville in the game. He swiped a pair of balls for four points.
Down 32-29, Lanesville’s Husband went to work. He scored seven unanswered points. Wilkin had a quick transition outlet, then Husband had a highlight-worthy up-and-under 3-point play.
The run put Lanesville up 36-32.
‘We’ve been working a lot in practice on transition,’ Husband said. ‘It’s good to see it move forward to the games.’
‘I thought for Matt and Joe, they played a really nice floor game,’ Miller said. ‘They were solid on the offensive end and, defensively, improved here and there. We’re going to go as far as they go on both ends of the floor. They were under control and took high quality shots today.’
Ferree was also the top rebounder with six.
Miller said he was pleased with the entire team effort. Luke Beach and Luke Ferguson provided great minutes off the bench. Cook, a freshman point guard, settled down after a rough first half.
‘We wanted more of team effort; we got that tonight,’ Miller added.
Husband had 21 points, while Ferree added 18.
Keying on Goodwin was a top defensive priority for Lanesville.
‘We did a really good job the whole night on Zack Goodwin,’ Miller said. ‘He only had three points. When you hold the other team’s best player to well under his average, it helps. Most coaches say we’d rather hold the leading scorer under and have other kids beat you. They had kids step up; Goforth, Ray and Day hit some shots for them.’
The win snapped a three-game slide for Lanesville, while South Central dropped its eighth in a row.
‘It’s conference, so it keeps us in that race, and it’s a rival game, too,’ Husband said of the win. ‘We lost a few games in a row so this one gets us back on track. The end of the season we need to get as many wins as we can.’
Lanesville will face a pair of ranked teams this weekend as the Eagles host Class A No. 7 Christian Academy of Indiana on Friday and then travel to Class A No. 3 Orleans on Saturday. Both games will tip at 7:30 p.m.
South Central heads to Cannelton Friday night.
South Central 16 9 12 5 ‘ 42
Lanesville 15 10 16 20 ‘ 61
South Central (1-13, 0-2 SAC) ‘ Day 15, Goforth 13, Ray 9, Goodwin 3, Shewmaker 2.
Lanesville (5-6, 2-1) ‘ Husband 21, Ferree 18, Wilkin 8, Sronce 5, Cook 4, Ferguson 3, Beach 2.
3-point goals ‘ South Central 7 (Goforth 3, Day 2, Ray 2); Lanesville 4 (Ferree 3, Ferguson).