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Yawner to thriller: Eagles rally

Yawner to thriller: Eagles rally
Yawner to thriller: Eagles rally
Lanesville's Elijah Wilkin draws an intentional foul from Henryville's Elijah Weeks with 6.6 seconds remaining while the score was tied 31-all. The junior sank one of two free throws to land the Eagles a win. Photo by Brian Smith

Those keeping score in the stands had no need for a pencil sharpener Friday night in Lanesville.
In 29-1/2 minutes of play between visiting Henryville and Class 1A No. 4 Lanesville, a grand total of 50 points was scored between the Southern Athletic Conference rivals.
For Lanesville, a team that had scored no fewer than 57 points in its first five games, the dragging pace of a slow-down game saw the Eagles down six, 28-22, in the fourth quarter.
Top scorer Joe Ferree was sidelined after soreness from a vehicle crash (status is day-to-day) for Lanesville, prompting the added emphasis on the defensive end.
The rally from six down started and ended with ‘D’ resulting in a wild 33-31 comeback victory.
‘We talked from the beginning, had Joe played tonight, the same focus was to be on the defensive end,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘I thought outside of a just a couple of things, our defense was really solid.’
Gregory Daly came up with a steal with 2:20 to play after Henryville continued to pass the ball around, attempting to milk the clock. His swipe resulted in a made layup while drawing contact.
Daly missed the freebie, but Elijah Wilkin slid in to grab the rebound and score on a put-back. The four-point swing brought Lanesville within two, 28-26, with 2:15 to go.
After Braxton Robertson netted a pair of free throws for Henryville, the home purple saw Luke Ferguson nail a long ball. From a foot beyond the arc, the senior netted his only points at a critical stage.
Henryville’s Nick Walker made one free throw at the 1:23 mark, putting the Hornets up 31-29.
It took Lanesville until 24 seconds were left to put up an attempt. Wilkin passed to Luke Beach on the baseline; Beach was fouled on his try. Toeing the line, Beach evened the game at 31.
Out of a Hornets’ time-out, Luke Beach and Evan Ash trapped Henryville’s Kasey Robertson in front of the Christmas-clad Lanesville student section. Reading the jump pass, Wilkin stole the ball and raced toward the other end. With 6.6 ticks left, Wilkin was intentionally fouled.
‘What we talked about in the time-out was to get a steal, look for a trap if we could get one,’ Miller said. ‘Elijah, in the time-out, asked if they were to foul, but he was so focused. Some of the guys didn’t realize we came all the way back to tie the game. It was a funny, relaxing moment in the time-out, and there he goes and gets the steal.’
After one Wilkin free throw fell through, Riley Cook drew a foul on the inbounds, making one of his attempts. Henryville put up a late desperation trey, but it clung off the iron.
‘(Assistant) coach (Jarrett) Beach said, at some points, the kids we had out there on the floor, all of them made some play at one point that ended up being very important,’ Miller said. ‘Elijah had a couple of big rebounds and a steal. Evan and Luke (Ferguson) hit important 3s during times when we needed it.’
The win moved Lanesville to 6-0, its best start since the 2006-07 campaign when the Eagles won the first nine.
Slowing the pace (Lanesville attempted only 33 field goals) and playing without Ferree and his 22.2 points per game saw the Eagles stagger at times on the offensive end.
‘We were feeling our way the whole game,’ Miller said. ‘I told (Henryville) coach (Jared) Hill our guys will be passing and looking for Joe and he won’t be there.’
Cook picked up the offense early for Lanesville, scoring five of his seven points in the first quarter. It would be the only points in the frame for the Eagles, who trailed 6-5 after eight minutes.
Lanesville’s offense started to pick up in the second quarter. While Henryville’s six points came on a 3-pointer by Kasey Robertson and one of the old-fashioned variety by Thomas Green, Lanesville started getting the ball inside.
Wilkin had 10 points and seven rebounds, including a stretch of five straight in the second frame.
Cook later found Beach for a short jumper. With 23 seconds to go in the half, Ash took a pass from Ferguson to knock down a long ball to give Lanesville a 16-12 lead.
Henryville’s Nick Walker sparked the Hornets in the third quarter. He scored nine of his 12 points in the frame. Many of the shot attempts were challenging jumpers, including a 3-pointer.
In the third, Henryville outscored the Eagles 13-6 to take a 25-22 lead. The lead ballooned to six, 28-22, when Walker netted a triple to start the fourth.
Then the Eagles had their thrilling comeback.
‘You are playing solid defense to hold a team to very little late,’ Miller said. ‘Luke Beach had eight points and two big free throws, but I told him he had to have the game of his life defensively. He was a stud guarding (Braxton Robertson) all night long. He held him to two points.’
As a team, Lanesville was 8 of 13 at the charity stripe. Cook scored seven points and had three assists. The Eagles only turned the ball over 11 times, an area coach Miller said has been a focus in practice to improve on.
‘All in all, it was a great team victory,’ Miller said.
Lanesville’s fast start to the season has them ranked among the top teams in Class 1A.
‘We’ve not talked much about the ranking,’ Miller said. ‘I know it’s there. I tell the guys if they want to know how good they are, just ask me. I know it means a lot to them, and it is neat to see your name there. Hopefully, it’s motivating to prove you are deserving of it. I don’t know if we are the fourth best team in our class, but we are out there now.’
Walker was the lone Hornets player to reach double figures with 13 points. Green closed with nine points.
Lanesville will head to the Springs Valley Tournament on Tuesday. The Eagles will open the event versus Indiana Math & Science at 2 p.m. then return that afternoon to play Springs Valley at 5:30.

Henryville 6 6 13 6 ‘ 31
Lanesville 5 11 6 11 ‘ 33
Henryville (2-3, 0-1 SAC) ‘ Walker 12, Green 9, K. Robertson 5, Beeler 3, B. Robertson 2.
Lanesville (6-0, 2-0) ‘ Wilkin 10, Beach 8, Cook 7, Ash 3, Ferguson 3, Daly 2.
3-point goals ‘ Henryville 2 (Walker, K. Robertson); Lanesville 3 (Cook, Ash, Ferguson).