Lutheran’s Saints team members, coaches, and cheerleaders celebrate the sixth boys’ basketball in program history Saturday night after defeating No. 8 Greenwood Christian Academy, 61-57. The No. 5 Saints (16-7) carry a seven-game winning streak against No. 5 Bloomfield (24-3) into the 1A Martinsville Regional Saturday.
By Al Stilley
“They’ll be ready.”
With those words, Lutheran coach Remus Woods wasted little time Saturday night looking ahead to colliding with No. 1-ranked Bloomfield (24-3) in the upcoming 1A Martinsville Regional.
The No. 5 Saints hung on Saturday night and defeated a determined No.8 Greenwood Christian Academy team, 61-57 for their sixth sectional trophy.
The Cougars saw their 13-game winning streak end with a final 19-7 record under second-generation coach Jackson Williams.
Lutheran extended its winning streak to seven in a row with a quick-handed defense and a mix of inside play from 6-5 senior Kameron Patterson, 18 points, and sharp-shooting classmate Durray Smith, 17 points, who opened by hitting his first five 3-point shots.
GCA led once, 2-0, in a championship game that was tied twice (11-11, 16-16). Lutheran’s biggest lead, 38-23 came early in the third quarter on sophomore LJ Ward’s layup and free throw.
However, the Cougars, refused to go away.
During a five-minute run in the second half, the Cougars outscored Lutheran, 14-2 and closed to 51-47 with a fullcourt press and six points from McIntire and five points from Booher.
The final margin came on GCA’s Blake Shewmaker’s drive to the basket with 17.5 seconds left.
GCA had a big lift from McIntire, who came off the bench and scored a game-high 23 points. Shewmaker wound up with 14 points, and Booher, who had 17 points Friday against Victory College Prep, put in nine points.
“Defensively, we didn’t want 23 (Booher) or 34 (Shewmaker) to beat us,” Lutheran coach Woods said. “If we were to get beaten, it was going to come from someone else. We did a real good job holding them down and we had just enough advantage to stay in front.”
Woods continued, “We wanted this one and we played as a team.”
After the game, GCA coach Williams had praise for his young team that only had three seniors – Shewmaker, Parker Satre, and Ian Reed.
The Cougars advanced to the title game by defeating Tindley, 53-47 in overtime in the tourney opener and Victory College Prep, 75-28.
Lutheran dominated Providence Cristo Rey, 83-44 Friday.
CG, WHITELAND TO FINALS
Center Grove and Whiteland each reached sectional championship games Saturday.
Center Grove took the long way to reach its 4A Sectional championship game in Vandermeer Gymasium Saturday night. The Trojans out-lasted rival Greenwood, 49-42 in the opener, and then dominated Bloomington South, 62-39 Friday.
Then Saturday in a nail-biter, the Trojans fell on a three-point shot by Bloomington North, 43-41 with 0.4 seconds on the clock. CG, ranked No. 4 in 4A, finishes 22-3.
CG’s Marcus Ankney hit a 3-pointer for a 41-40 lead with 1:47 left in the game.
At Columbus North, Whiteland edged Shelbyville, 47-45 Friday but the host Bulldogs slipped past the Warriors, 67-59 Saturday in the championship game.
At Perry Meridian, Franklin Central edged the hosts 37-34 in a first-round game only to run into No. 1 Ben Davis in a semifinal game. The overpowering Giants prevailed 75-46 against the Flashes that closed with three straight wins before facing BD.
FC coach Mark James said he is retiring from teaching this year, but left the door open to continue coaching.