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Eagles top 4A Roncalli, start Forest Park tourney with win

Eagles top 4A Roncalli, start Forest Park tourney with win
Eagles top 4A Roncalli, start Forest Park tourney with win
During a red-hot third quarter, Lanesville guard Justin Bailey puts up a 3-pointer. The junior made four in the frame, which saw the Eagles tally 25 points. Photo by Brian Smith

It isn’t often a Class 1A school has the opportunity to play a 4A school in the regular season on the boys’ basketball slate.
On Dec. 22, Lanesville had the opportunity when Indianapolis Roncalli was searching for a game when the Floyd Central Holiday Tournament dissolved. The Eagles took full advantage of the opportunity and upended Roncalli 62-57.
Played at Floyd Central High School (Roncalli lost to 4A No. 3 Floyd Central 53-48 earlier in the day), the Eagles were led by 21 points from Connor Nolot.
‘It was a nice confidence boost that you can compete against a team that athletic and physical,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘It shows we can not only compete, but also be successful. It was a lot of excitement afterwards, especially when you get a 1A team that was fortunate enough to beat a 4A team.’
Lanesville looked to keep the momentum going at the Access Storage Holiday Hoops Classic hosted by Forest Park.
On Dec. 27, the 1A No. 7-ranked Eagles played a pair of games in the eight-team event. They opened with a 60-48 win over Eastern (Pekin) then returned that night to face the host school with Forest Park earning the win, 57-44.
It was a rather slow start for the Eagles against Eastern. On two occasions, the game was tied in the second quarter until just before halftime. A pair of Nolot field goals ‘ the last beat the buzzer after a Jack Kaufer steal ‘ put Lanesville up 23-17 at the break.
Lanesville rounded into better form in the second half. A 12-0 burst of points helped push the lead to 15, 38-23. Getting hot from beyond the arc, Justin Bailey had four triples in the frame, the final in front of the scorer’s table before the horn.
‘It comes down to consistency,’ Miller said. ‘We weren’t consistent to start the game. Justin, when he hit some 3s, and Connor getting to the basket, those two were scoring in the third quarter to help right the ship.’
An early fourth-quarter field goal by Kevin DeSpain pushed Lanesville’s lead to the largest of the day, 22, over the Musketeers, 50-28.
Eastern made four triples in the final quarter but wasn’t able to make a serious run on the scoreboard.
Miller said Eastern’s zone defense was the first extensive 2-3 they’ve seen all year. It took a bit for the Eagles to adjust.
‘In the first half, I thought we settled for too many 3s in the first half and we did too much standing,’ Miller said. ‘At half, we talked about how the middle was wide open. Once we got that going, it opened some things up and pushed them out of the zone.’
Nolot led the Eagles with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Bailey closed with 14 points, while Tripp Dillion added 12.
‘We still have things to work on, and we will be that way until we are finished,’ Miller said. ‘We are never going to be perfect, but we will continue to work toward finding it.’
The Eagles will host South Central on Friday in a key Southern Athletic Conference match-up.
In the semi-final round, defending Class 2A state runner-up Forest Park used a big first quarter to open a lead on Lanesville, eventually winning 57-44.
The Rangers started the game with five triples in the first quarter to take a 20-10 lead after eight minutes. Reid Steffe and Curt Hopf closed the game with 15 points apiece for Forest Park.
Leading the Eagles in scoring was Nolot with 12 points. Dillion contributed eight points.
Lanesville moved on to face Tecumseh in the third-place game on Dec. 28 (which took place after the deadline for this issue).

Eastern (Pekin) 6 11 11 20 ‘ 48
Lanesville 9 14 25 12 ‘ 60
Eastern (Pekin) (1-8) ‘ Coats 15, Adamson 8, Branaman 8, Jeter 7, Pennington 6, Walton 4.
Lanesville (7-1) ‘ Nolot 20, Bailey 14, Dillion 12, DeSpain 6, Miller 2, Philpott 2, Reynolds 2, Wernert 2.
3-point goals ‘ Eastern 7 (Coats 3, Adamson 2, Branaman 2); Lanesville 5 (Bailey 4, Nolot).

Lanesville 10 11 10 13 ‘ 44
Forest Park 20 19 10 8 ‘ 57
Lanesville (7-2) ‘ Nolot 12, Dillion 8, DeSpain 7, Miller 5, Stacy 4, Reynolds 4, Wernert 2, Philpott 1, Kaufer 1.
Forest Park (5-4) ‘ Steffe 15, Hopf 15, Howard 8, Leonard 8, Hurst 6, Jochem 3, Jacob 2.
3-point goals ‘ Lanesville 1 (Nolot); Forest Park 7 (Steffe 4, Howard 2, Leonard).