Second-half fireworks spark Lanesville
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]
Fourth of July is still five months away, but Lanesville’s Emma Campbell and Gracie Adams provided the fireworks as Lanesville Saturday’s Class 1A sectional championship, 54-41, against New Washington.
After never winning a girls’ basketball sectional in the school’s history, the Lady Eagles crossed that off the bucket list in 2019. Now, they have accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons.
Adams was kept at bay, managing just four points in the first half, but she scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half, helping Lanesville erase an eight-point, third-quarter deficit.
“Our defense got us going and, from there, Gracie did what Gracie does,” said Lanesville coach Angie Hinton. “She really came through for us. Early in the game, she was rushing and panicking a little bit, but she trusted her team and what we were trying to do. We did a better job late of finding her and getting her the ball.”
Adams draws a lot of attention from opposing defenses, but she credited Emma Campbell, who knocked down a three with 4:40 remaining in the third quarter that cut New Washington’s lead to five, 25-20, for helping the entire Lady Eagles team relax.
“Emma is our firecracker,” Adams said. “It just felt like when that shot went through that we were OK and were going to be able to come back. That’s how it’s been all season. We are a team, and it’s a total team effort to get these accomplishments.”
Campbell finished the game with 11 points and agreed with Adams that seeing the three-pointer fall helped everyone on the Lanesville roster to exhale.
“When that shot went through, I think we all realized we were going to come back,” Campbell said. “At that point, it became real that we were going to do it and get another sectional.”
Hinton saw the same thing and said she felt like the shot provided the momentum swing the Lady Eagles needed.
“Campbell’s three got us fired up,” Hinton said, “and Grace is right, Campbell is a firecracker. She has worked very, very hard to get where she is. I’ve been getting on her recently because she has kind of taken a step back, and I told her this is not the time of year to be doing that. I told her we need her on this stage. She stayed longer after our walk-through this morning, and we talked and I told her she was made for this moment and she proved me right.”
Adams scored a long two on Lanesville’s next possession, and another three by Campbell seemed to rattle the Lady Mustangs as their lead of eight had shrunk to just one, 26-25.
Campbell’s second three in the third quarter was the beginning of an 11-2 run that was built from five more points from Adams and an old-fashioned three-point play by Linzie Wernert that put the Lady Eagles up five, 33-28, heading into the fourth quarter.
The two teams traded points in the opening moments of the fourth before another run gave Lanesville some breathing room.
Morgan Sonner hit a two off an assist by Georgia Brumley, Wernert hit one of two free-throw attempts and Adams drained a three to extend the Lady Eagles’ lead to nine, 41-32.
Lanesville closed the victory by hitting 9 of 12 free throws in the closing minutes.
Appropriately enough, Adams hit the two free throws that sealed the win and sparked the celebration.
“It feels really good,” Adams said. “We worked hard to get here, and it feels great to accomplish this.”
Campbell was a reserve who didn’t see much action when Lanesville won the school’s first girls’ basketball sectional last season. She said it was a fun experience last year but admitted it was more fun to actually contribute.
“This feels amazing,” Campbell said. “I supported the team last year, but I wasn’t too big a part on the floor. But, to be a part of it this year, on this stage, is great. So excited to be an Eagle!”
Wernert, who is a freshman, finished with 17 points. She said she and her teammates have thought about winning a sectional all season and was glad to actually accomplish it.
“This has been the goal all season,” Wernert said. “The older players would talk about the experience of winning sectional, and there are pictures from it all over the locker room and I know they wanted us (the team’s three freshmen) to experience it.”
Lanesville’s week prior to Saturday’s barn-burner was filled with two easy wins. The Lady Eagles beat Christian Academy of Indiana in the opening round Feb. 4 (see related story) and then won easily, 66-19, Friday night against Rock Creek Academy.
In the game against the Lady Lions, Lanesville led 22-2 by the end of the first quarter and put the game away with an 18-0 run that lasted the entire third quarter.
The two easy wins allowed Lanesville’s entire roster to contribute to the sectional title. Hinton said building the team’s depth has been a season-long process.
“We feel like we have built our bench and that we have a number of capable players on a given night who can do things for us,” she said. “We don’t have any seniors and, if everyone keeps working hard, we could really continue to grow what we are trying to do.”
Against Rock Creek, 11 Lanesville players scored with Wernert leading the way with 10 points, while Campbell and Adams added nine points each.
Lanesville now turns its attention to the regional round Saturday at West Washington against Tecumseh. Tip-off is slated for 10 a.m. Tecumseh is 18-5 on the season. The winner of that game will play the winner of the Loogootee-Trinity Lutheran game in the regional championship Saturday night.
Hinton said she and her players are excited for the opportunity to get back to regionals.
“Winning never gets old and, for these kids and this program, every time we do something, it’s a new record and a new experience,” she said. “Getting to go play and coach in another regional is exciting and, if you ever lose that excitement, you don’t need to be coaching.”
Lanesville 9 6 18 21 – 54
New Washington 12 8 8 13 – 41
Lanesville (23-3) – Linzie Wernert 17, Gracie Adams 13, Emma Campbell 11, Morgan Sonner 6, Georgia Brumley 3, Kennedy Gordon 2, Danielle Haire 2.
New Washington (13-12) – Taylor James 19, Adrian Miles 10, MacKenzie Krouse 5, Makynsie Barger 4, Kalin Campbell 2, Julia Grace Ellison 1.
3-point goals – Lanesville 5 (Adams 2, Campbell 2, Brumley 1); New Washington 3 (James 1, Krouse 1, Miles 1).
Lanesville 22 14 18 12 – 66
Rock Creek 2 9 0 8 – 19
Lanesville – Linzie Wernert 10, Gracie Adams 9, Emma Campbell 9, Danielle Haire 7, Georgia Brumley 6, Austin Crosier 6, Kennedy Gordon 5, Allison Slaughter 4, Morgan Sonner 4, Elizabeth Turner 4, Kaylie Blankenbaker 2.
Rock Creek – Leah Thompson 15, Tiffany Miller 4.
3-point goals – Lanesville 5 (Campbell 2, Crosier 2, Brumley 1); Rock Creek 4 (Thompson 4).