Boys Basketball Wins Consolation In Grant 4

Posted on December 25, 2018 in Boy's Basketball, Winter Sports

BY SCOTT HUNT – shunt@chronicle-tribune.com
GAS CITY — Records and past results usually mean nothing when it comes Grant Four basketball tournaments, and that was once again the case Saturday night at Mississinewa.

But the host-Indians reaffirmed their position in Grant County’s power rankings with a pair of impressive performances and the Grant Four championship.

Just more than two weeks ago the Indians handled Madison-Grant with relative ease in a Central Indiana Conference matchup.

Ole Miss’ 67-60 win over the Argylls in the Grant Four finals was anything but easy. Oak Hill topped Eastbrook, 52-44 in the third-place game.

“We played probably our best game I’ve seen in four or five years against them so for me to expect us to just come out and dominate them again, thats not going to happen,” said Ole Miss coach James Reed. “This is a championship and we’ve got to play the best we can play.

“Our guys bought into the fact the we are the favorites but that doesn’t mean anything.”

And Madison-Grant jumped in front 12-6 midway through the first quarter.

But Mississinewa spanned the end of the first and beginning of the second period with a 14-2 run to take a lead they’d not relinquish the rest of the evening.

The Argylls wouldn’t go away easily, though., pulling within two twice in the last four minutes of the half before the Indians opened some space with a 38-31 lead at intermission.

Mississinewa built its advantage to 52-39 on Landen Swanner’s volleyball-line 3-pointer at the third quarter buzzer.

Madison-Grant gradually chipped away and got as close as 64-60 with 45 seconds to play but could draw no closer.

Swanner topped all scorers with 22 points and hit 5-of-7 from long range. Tai McClung ended with 16 points and seven boards while Anthony Horton scored 13 for Ole Miss.

“We’ve got one special shooter, but we’ve got five shooters that are almost as good as I was in high school, although I can’t admit that to them of course, Reed said, singling Swanner out as a special shooter. “We have great role players. Once we figure out how to really use each other as far as chemistry, its going to be really fun for this group, because they love each other and we don’t have any renegades. We have a great team.”

Wyatt Rudy finished with 19 to lead the Argylls and Isaac Cooper had 11.

Oak Hill used a balanced offense and pressure defense to knock off Eastbrook in the consolation game.

The Eagles forced the Panthers into 10 first-half turnovers an finished with layups on many opportunities.

“I felt like we had to get out and do some pressure-type things because I felt like if we laid back we were going to get more of a consolation game effort than the one we got,” said Oak Hill coach Kevin Renbarger. “We struggle with the mental approach. I felt like getting them up and getting them going might give them a little bit more energy.”

Konnor Cabe led Oak Hill with 15 points and Tahj Johnson added 13.

Dylan Bragg finished with a game-high 21 for Eastbrook while Alex Baker added 11 for the Panthers.

Semifinals

Ole Miss 65, Oak Hill 53

For the second time in just over two weeks, the Indians toppled the Golden Eagles. Also for the second time, the final score doesn’t show just how difficult it was for Ole Miss.

Mississinewa led for most of the 32 minutes and built double-digit leads in each of the two halves. But each time it did, Oak Hill responded to not only make it interesting, but uncomfortable for the Indians.

“It’s just consistency,” Mississinewa coach James Reed said. “What was happening was in our press we were pressing hard but we weren’t loading back to play great defense. We were extended almost into a straight man-to-man defense and that’s not what we do.

“Because Oak Hill, that’s a great team and I am happy I do not have to play them again this year,” Reed added. “They are hard to beat. I don’t care if they are 1-6. When they come here and play they are a tough, tough team for us to beat. They just don’t ever quit.

“(Konnor) Cabe, my word, that ball was going in from every where and we really tried hard to take him away, game planned the whole game against him. In the fourth quarter we did a better job of impacting him in the post and pushing him out.”

Mississinewa led 11-10 after one, but after building a 10-point advantage the Golden Eagles rallied to cut the Indians’ lead to 25-20 at halftime. The ebb and flow continued through the third quarter, but entering the final eight minutes Oak Hill had clawed back to tie it up at 43-all.

Ole Miss finished a 15-of-19 second half shooting performance in the fourth quarter with a 22-10 advantage on the scoreboard and a spot in Saturday night’s championship.

Howell led all scorers with 20 points while Grant Brown added 13 and Wyatt Rudy had 10 for the Argylls.

“We won every statistical category except for shooting,” Oak Hill coach Kevin Renbarger said. “If it comes down to that, I think it will come but it’s going to be awhile before we can get over that hump.

“Where I am proud of our kids and I’m very very impressed is that twice we were down 10 and Mississinewa had that look, like this is it, we’re going to roll you, and we were able to compete and get it back within reason in the first half, and we brought it all the way back in the second half and had the ball with a chance to take the lead,” Renbarger added.

Cabe led the Golden Eagles with 24 points while Tristen Hayes chipped in with 16.

The Indians were balanced offensively with Anthony Horton leading the way with 14 points. Heisman Skeens scored 12 points off the Ole Miss bench while Tai McClung and Landen Swanner each chipped in with 11.

Renbarger believes Mississinewa’s athleticism is the biggest difference between the two teams.

“That’s what bothers us,” he said. “I don’t know how much of a better basketball team they are than us. I do think they are better, but I do think we struggle with superior athleticism. They have superior athleticism. They’re able to drive into the lane and when they do we were having a hard time keeping them in front.

“We were in a zone and were still having a hard time keeping them in front,” he added. “I think that’s probably what it really comes down to, they are able to do things athletically and physically that we’re not ready to do or ready to sustain.”

Madison-Grant 60, Eastbrook 53

The second semifinal had a similar feel and flow as the opening game.

Eastbrook got a 3-pointer from Dylan Bragg to open the scoring just under a minute in before Madison-Grant put together a 15-2 run and took a 15-5 lead. The Panthers closed the first quarter with a 9-3 run then carried it into the second and and took a 24-23 lead under four minutes before halftime. The Argylls eventually worked their way into a 29-26 halftime advantage and maintained a lead throughout the final 16 minutes.

But M-G never could put the Panthers away, twice extending the lead to nine points in the third quarter before Eastbrook closed within 44-41 entering the fourth.

Kaden Howell helped open some breathing room for the Argylls with a 3-pointer followed by a two 35 seconds later to extend M-G’s advatage to 58-50 with 1:10 to play. But Eastbrook would go the final 3:20 of the game without a field goal, and despite missing the front end of three straight one-and-one free throw chances Madison-Grant held on to earn its spot in the finals.

“We’re shooting 74 percent at the foul line as a team and that was a shocker to step up to the line and miss those,” Madison-Grant coach Brian Trout said. “We had the right guys at the line, too. Because of that it was a lot closer there at the end than it needed to be. We came out in second half opened up a decent gap there early and anytime you can do that it relaxes you a little bit and youre able to just play from there.”

Madison-Grant forced Eastbrook into 20 turnovers.

Howell led all scorers with 20 points while Grant Brown added 13 and Wyatt Rudy had 10 for the Argylls.

“I thought we did a pretty good job (defensively),” Trout said. “We’re still not getting to help side soon enough sometimes. Late in the third we had three or four times we should have been to help side a lot sooner than we were.

“We’re getting a lot better pressure on the ball, were working on it every day, that one thing we know weve got to get better at,” he added. “Kids are working hard, they’re buying into it and I think it showed. 53 points is a pretty good defensive effort.”

Bragg and Bryce Schamber each scored 15 for the Panthers with Garrett Holder chipping in 14. Schamber finished with eight rebounds while Alex Baker added seven points and 12 rebounds.

“We didn’t start out real strong, but once again they battled, finished the (first) quarter out well and finished the half out,” said Eastbrook coach Greg Allison. “We had some plays that if we execute better down the stretch, we might be playing in the later game as opposed to the consolation game.”

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