Thriller gets Eagles back on track
Lanesville needed a come-back story.
Losing two games last weekend, the Eagles had their sights set on improving their next time out.
Snow showers on Friday couldn’t keep the boys’ basketball team from making a trip to Clarksville Saturday night. For the second straight year, Lanesville came from behind to knock off the Generals in a thrilling finish, 44-42.
The comeback win has the Class 1A No. 10 Eagles on the up and up again.
‘Confidence,’ Lanesville senior Luke Beach said. ‘Confidence, not cockiness. We had a really big streak going and were knocked down a little bit. We want to build back up for the next nine games and sectional.’
Beach’s role in the rally versus Clarksville was vital in the final 80 seconds.
Tied at 37-all, Beach drove the right side of the lane, eventually kicking out to Evan Ash. With plenty of daylight, the sophomore swished a corner 3-pointer to give Lanesville a 40-37 edge.
‘I was looking to drive and his guy came down on me, so I dished it out to him,’ Beach recalled. ‘I was hoping he’d make it, and he did. He came through.’
The lead was short lived. Clarksville post player Alex Taylor carried much of his team’s scoring and did so late in the game as well. After making one field goal, the Generals went to Taylor following Lanesville’s miss of the 1-and-1 situation. On a sideline inbounds play, Taylor caught the pass on the block and finished to give Clarksville a 41-40 lead. Taylor was fouled on the play, but missed the freebie.
Lanesville’s Joe Ferree handled the ball up top inside the final half minute before getting fouled away from the basket with 16.3 seconds left. The senior sank both free throws, sending the lead back to Lanesville, 42-41.
Keeping with the whistles, Clarksville’s Cody Leonhardt was fouled coming off a high ball screen but missed his 1-and-1 chance with 6.4 ticks remaining.
Gathering the rebound, Beach was immediately fouled. Calmly approaching the stripe, Beach swished both tries for a three-point lead.
‘You have to block it all out and take a deep breath before you shoot,’ Beach said of the free throws. ‘It went in, thank God.’
Lanesville elected to foul Clarksville with 1.3 seconds left, a strategy that worked, prompting the win.
Trailing by three midway through the final quarter, Lanesville got 3-pointers to fall from Ferree and Ash, the only triples of the game for the Eagles.
‘Evan is one we have been encouraging to shoot more,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘I was worried he wasn’t going to shoot it. He was open and, man, he pulled the trigger on that thing. That got us over the hump and a three-point lead.’
Through the first 2-1/2 quarters of action, the Generals controlled the scoreboard. They opened the game leading 12-5 after eight minutes. In that span, success was found on the glass, out-rebounding Lanesville 7-4. In fact, Taylor scored three field goals on put-backs.
Lanesville also had to deal with Ferree picking up his second foul with 2:35 to play in the first quarter.
Clarksville opened the lead to eight, 15-7, when Leonhardt made a 3-point field goal.
Then, Lanesville started to chip away. Bench play from Luke Ferguson and Jordan Wernert provided positives. Ferguson had a drive for two, while Wernert shored up the rebounding with three boards along with taking a charge.
‘Jordan gave us great minutes and set a tone early for us that we were going to battle,’ Miller said.
Gregory Daly had a steal and score along with a jumper. Improving on the boards, Elijah Wilkin and Beach scored on put-backs. Beach’s banked-in tip while falling back drew contact. The 3-point play with 4.2 seconds brought Lanesville back within two points at the half, 22-20.
‘Early on, we struggled with things but, as the game went on, we got better. Rebounding was one of them and keeping (Clarksville) in front of us,’ Miller said.
For much of the game, Lanesville played zone, a defense not used much the first half of the campaign.
‘Clarksville is a solid team,’ Miller said. ‘I don’t think we matched up real well with them. They are long and athletic, but our kids kept battling and fighting all night long. I thought once we stared to control the boards in the third and fourth quarter, we started to control the game. That’s basketball. If you can defend and control the boards, you tend to have a lot of success.’
Lanesville finally went ahead when Ferree dropped off a pass in the lane for Wernert to score. Ferree and Riley Cook created a steal up top, resulting in a Cook lay-in, prompting a 30-27 Lanesville lead late in the third quarter.
For the game, Lanesville never led by more than one possession.
‘It was a good grind-out win we needed after last weekend,’ Miller said. ‘You wonder a little bit about yourself after you lose a double weekend. They came back with great effort and result.’
Ferree led a balanced-scoring attack with 11 points along with six rebounds. Wilkin had eight points and eight boards. Beach and Cook had seven points apiece.
Taylor led Clarksville with 17 points and seven rebounds.
‘It’s a physical game and they were quick,’ Miller said of Clarksville. ‘I think this is the type of game you could see in a sectional. A Friday night game could be to 60, 80 points then turn around and the next night could be 44-42. Being able to win both ways is really vital for us.’
Lanesville will return home for games against Eastern (Pekin) on Friday and Perry Central on Saturday, which will be homecoming.
Lanesville 5 15 12 12 ‘ 44
Clarksville 12 10 11 9 ‘ 42
Lanesville (11-3) ‘ Ferree 11, Wilkin 8, Beach 7, Cook 7, Daly 4, Ash 3, Ferguson 2, Wernert 2.
Clarksville (5-9) ‘ Taylor 17, B. McEwen 6, Sowers 4, Hale 4, Ludwick 4, Leonhardt 3, Van Winkle 2, Stewart 2.
3-point goals ‘ Lanesville 2 (Ferree, Ash); Clarksville 2 (B. McEwen, Leonhardt).