Senior staff writer
How far has the Lutheran boys basketball team come since its opening season loss by 17 points at Morristown?
The Saints provided that answer Saturday when defeating Morristown 73-71 for the Class A Edinburgh Sectional trophy, the school’s fourth.
Second-year coach Bob Jacobs’ Saints (11-12) meet Hauser (16-9) Saturday at 10 a.m. in the opener of the Martinsville Regional. The winner meets the Tindley (20-5)-Shakamak (15-10) winner in the title matchup at 8 p.m.
The Saints have the distinction of being one of three teams left in the tourney with a losing record. They join Fort Wayne Homestead, Carmel and Danville as the only teams that have won football and girls and boys basketball sectional titles this season.
Lutheran finished the regular season 9-12 before defeating Central Christian 63-59 and upsetting Morristown in sectional action. The Saints led most of the game against the Yellow Jackets and had a five-point lead after hitting two free throws with 11 seconds remaining.
“It was a great way to see how far we have come,” Jacobs said. “When we played (Morristown) the first time, we had several football players who had the minimum of five practices. We knew this would really be a big test.
“You always set winning the sectional as one of your goals. But honestly, I thought as young as we were going into the season that we were one year away.”
The Saints leaders are: seniors, 6-0 Brandon Perry (16.2 points per game, 3.6 rebounds), 6-0 Zach White (10.9 points, 5.7 rebounds), and 6-4 Tyler Johnson (8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds) and 6-0 soph Matthew Alter (6.7 points). Perry and White lead in steals. Seniors Weley Pittman and LaSanne Strode add depth.
“We have also enjoyed a very strong bench all season, oftentimes playing 10 or more players per game,” Jacobs said. “I believe playing a tough schedule all season was big for us in the sectional. Playing tougher, bigger and quicker teams has really helped us.”
Beech Grove wiped out an 18-point deficit (37-19) to take a lead 52-50 lead over Danville only to falter in the final 20 seconds Saturday in a 3A championship game.
The Hornets started slowly but outscored the Warriors 20-8 in the third quarter. Beech Grove trailed 66-65 before Danville went on to win 74-65.
Dylan Allen, 18 points, and Kenny Washington, 16 points, led Beech Grove (18-7).
At Brebeuf, Manual tried to defeat 3A sectional favorite Crispus Attucks for the third straight time but failed 65-53.
Manual reached the semifinal by overpowering Herron 117-40 in the Redskins’ biggest point production of the season.
The Redskins finished 18-7. Senior Courvoisier McCauley was held to 14 points but finished the season at the state’s No. 2 scorer with a 27.7-point average. Manual, under second-year coach Donnie Bowling, finished with back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in several decades.