INDIANAPOLIS — It’s not often a high school baseball team on the short end of a 12-2 score can legitimately lament wasted chances and missed opportunities, but Shakamak endured that unfortunate situation Saturday afternoon at Victory Field. If former Arizona Cardinals football coach Dennis Green had been there, he could have paraphrased his most famous rant: “You let ‘em off the hook.” And coach Chip Sweet of the Lakers would have agreed. Top-ranked Lafayette Central Catholic won its fourth straight Class A state championship and fifth in the last six years — Shakamak interrupted in 2008 — by putting together a tie-breaking nine-run rally in the top of the fifth inning Saturday. But the Knights were extremely fortunate the score was tied at that point, and the Lakers contributed to their own demise to help the big rally get started. “When someone looks at the score, they’ll think we got hammered,” Sweet said after the game. “But we put pressure on [the Knights].” And could have put on even more. Shakamak hadn’t been to Victory Field since its championship season, so every Laker was playing there for the first time — and several Knights for the fourth time. Shakamak’s start, understandably, was a little shaky. “We let the surroundings get to us a little bit,” sophomore Brett Yeryar admitted after the game. LCC got an unearned run in the top of the first inning on a leadoff single by Austin Munn, a passed ball, a ground out and a sacrifice fly. The Knights could have had more in the second inning after getting two hits and two walks, but Laker catcher Dylan Collins threw out one runner trying to advance on a ball in the dirt and Patrick Green struck out Munn — the Knights’ only strikeout of the game, as it turned out — with two out and the bases loaded. Then it was the Lakers’ turn. Yeryar laced a sharp single to center with one out in the bottom of the second, Luke Sweet walked and sophomore Christian Burris followed with probably the longest hit of his life. A .214 batter entering the game, with no home runs to his credit, Burris jumped on the first pitch he saw from Munn and launched a drive that one-hopped the fence between the 418 sign in left-center and the 405 mark in straightaway center, both runners scoring easily. The 400-foot blast, a homer in every other park he’ll play in, was “pretty much” the longest of his life, Burris said after the game. “I didn’t watch it, I was too busy running,” he added. “At that point, I thought we could win it, big-time. I thought we could’ve been state champions.” The next two Lakers couldn’t drive Burris home, and the Knights tied the score in the top of the third on a leadoff walk, a hit and a sacrifice fly. But the Shakamak hitters weren’t finished with Munn. Brock Dowell led off the third inning with an infield hit, Collins walked and Green hit a one-hop smash off Munn’s glove. The ball trickled into short right field but Dowell, who had held up at third, didn’t realize that in time to score. That proved to be a big play when Munn got out of the bases-loaded, no-outs jam with a strikeout and a double-play grounder. The Knights went out one-two-three in the top of the fourth, though, and Munn yielded three walks and threw a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning. One of the Lakers was picked off base, however, and that threat was wasted too. “Brock didn’t see me waving him in, and then we got the runner picked off the next inning,” Sweet said afterward. “We had [Munn] on the ropes at the time; a timely hit in there would’ve made a huge difference. “We should’ve gone into the fifth with the lead, a minimum [lead] of 3-2. Then [the Knights are] starting to feel a little pressure.” Instead, Munn led off the LCC fifth with a walk and Nick Stone blooped a ball down the right-field line that fell for a double. Green induced what looked like a harmless popup down the third-base line, but three Laker defenders were unable make a play and the ball landed a foot in fair territory for an RBI single. Andrew Hubertz followed with a seeing-eye single to drive in one run, LCC’s other runners moving to second and third on the fairly close play at home, and Jake Churchill doubled through the Lakers’ pulled-in infield for two more runs. “We miss those opportunities, and then we start the fifth with a walk,” Sweet noted later. “They get a duck snort [the bloop double], that ball falls in down the left-field line … that opened the floodgates, and sometimes it’s hard to get the bleeding stopped.” The Knights wound up with eight hits in the inning, including a pair of long extra-base blows later, and added four more hits for their final run in the sixth. “It’s definitely disappointing,” Dowell said after the game — and after winning the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award for Class A baseball. “This wasn’t the ending we wanted. [The Knights] came here and did what they needed to do … but I couldn’t fault our effort. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to go out with.” “LCC is a great ballclub,” said fellow senior Robert Fowler. “We didn’t have enough hits and we didn’t make enough plays.” “This is a bitter taste, but I’m glad we made it here,” said Yeryar. “We battled hard, and I feel we deserved to be here. It wasn’t the greatest of outcomes, but we got some experience and we hope to be back soon.” “That taste in my mouth is going to push me to come back again,” Burris agreed. “We can come back and win it next year.” “It’s really been a special year,” Sweet said. “We felt [at the beginning of the year] we were going to be better, and then the young kids got some confidence, our hitting started coming around … the kids are hurting right now, but at this age they’re resilient. Are they disappointed a little bit? They might be, but I know before long they’ll be really proud of what they accomplished.” “It was a great season, with a lot of great times,” said Fowler. “We had a great group of guys and great coaches. “[Being part of this team] helps me persevere,” maybe the team’s most improved player continued. “I learned a lot from each coach, each in his own way. They taught me an unbelievable amount of knowledge.”
- High School
Linton, Clay City coaches pulling for each other Saturday in IHSAA basketball regionals
The only Wabash Valley boys basketball teams remaining in the IHSAA state tournament are the two that tied for first place in the SouthWestern Indiana Athletic Conference.
Linton (Class 2A) and Clay City (Class A) each finished 7-1 in the SWIAC. Clay City handed Linton its only conference loss Feb. 18, a 58-50 decision, while Clay City’s only SWIAC setback was by a 62-51 score at Eastern Greene on Jan. 17.
Paris rally falls short in Super Sectional
When Petersburg (PORTA) finally showed it was possible to hit a free throw on the west end of the Illinois-Springfield gym Tuesday night — after 12 misses in a row — it spelled the end of a high school comeback by Paris that looked for awhile like it would be one for the ages.
“I thought we had ‘em,” Tiger coach Shawn Nugent said after the Class 2A Super Sectional game won by the Bluejays 58-49.
Paris seeking finals berth tonight
The Paris Tigers may be the underdogs again tonight when they play at the Class 2A Springfield Super Sectional, or they may be the favorites. What’s already clear as the Illinois boys basketball tournaments for the smaller schools enter their final week is that rankings and reputation don’t matter, particularly to the Tigers.
Class 2A girls: Rick Risinger coaches Heritage to fifth state title
Rick Risinger spoke this past week about defense being the key to securing a win against a talented Fort Wayne Canterbury girls basketball squad in the Class 2A state championship game.
Coach Risinger’s Heritage Christian squad rose to the occasion Saturday in Hulman Center, holding the Cavaliers to 33-percent shooting to claim the school’s fifth state title since joining the IHSAA in 2003.
The Eagles won their first title since 2009 by a score of 64-61.
Class A girls: Oregon-Davis holds off Vincennes Rivet
Oregon-Davis jumped out to a 15-2 lead when senior Alicia McIntosh drilled a 3-pointer in Saturday’s Class A state championship for girls high school basketball.
The Bobcats stretched that lead to as large as 17 before halftime, and still led by double figures with three minutes remaining.
Class 3A girls: Western over Evansville Mater Dei 38-35
Like Fort Wayne Canterbury in the Class 2A championship, two-time defending Class 2A champion Evansville Mater Dei found the going much more tough when moving up one class due to the IHSAA’s “Team Success Factor” legislation.
Mater Dei (26-2), which had an average margin of victory of 27 points throughout the season, struggled against Western’s 2-3 zone all night long in falling to the Panthers 38-35.
Class 4A girls: Bedford North Lawrence wins second straight title
Damon Bailey guided Bedford North Lawrence to a second straight state championship in his first year as head coach.
Bailey, an assistant on the Stars’ unbeaten Class 4A champions in 2013, watched his team hold off a scrappy Penn squad for a 51-41 victory Saturday night.
Central Catholic rallies to defeat Rockville
It was an old story in a new location Saturday for the boys basketball team from Lafayette Central Catholic High School.
Clay City wins third straight sectional
Clay City, the two-time defending champion of the IHSAA Class A Sectional No. 57, took the floor at White River Valley High School with a chip on its shoulder Saturday night.
Linton pulls away late to win at North Knox
Defending smartly and playing the offensive tempo like a finely tuned violin, Linton’s Miners dominated the fourth quarter of a previously air-tight high school basketball game to defeat South Knox 57-45 and repeat as Class 2A Sectional 47 champions.
Damon Bailey among coaches directing daughters at Hulman Center on Saturday
Father-daughter bonding was among the themes Saturday at Hulman Center as Terre Haute played host to the IHSAA girls basketball state finals for a third straight year.
Class 4A title favorite Bedford North Lawrence looked to repeat as champions late Saturday night. Former BNL state champion and Indiana Hoosier great Damon Bailey led his Stars into the game with a pair of daughters on the court. Junior Alexa Bailey, wearing No. 22 of course, is a Butler recruit and sophomore Loren is a reserve for the Stars.
Owen Valley, Edgewood in sectional final again
Things haven’t changed that much in the Class 3A boys basketball sectional. Northview was in the field for the first time and hosted the semifinals Friday night. But for the second year in a row, Edgewood and Owen Valley will play for the Sectional 28 championship tonight.
Temples’ 3-pointers help Paris advance
The prudent thing would have been to pull the basketball out, wait for an opponent to foul and run as much clock as possible in the final minute of the Illinois Class 2A Westville Sectional on Friday night. Audie Temples was thinking dagger.
Ailing Wilkey helps Rockville advance to title game
For part of Friday, doubt existed about whether flu-stricken Rockville standout Keiontre’ Wilkey would be able to play in the first semifinal game of the Class A North Vermillion Sectional for boys basketball. The junior guard gutted it out, however, and tallied 17 points to help lead the Rox over the host high school 61-53. That sent them into tonight’s sectional championship game against No. 7-ranked Lafayette Central Catholic.
Preps: Late free throws help Linton beat North Knox
Linton hit 4 of 5 free throws in the final minute and hung on to defeat streaking North Knox 47-46 in the semifinals of the Class 2A North Knox Sectional for boys high school basketball.
Former Terre Haute resident Rick Risinger looking for fifth state title in Hulman Center
An accomplished group of girls basketball coaches will make their way into Hulman Center on Saturday for the IHSAA state finals.
Damon Bailey, 1990 Mr. Basketball for state champion Bedford North Lawrence and former Indiana University great, is the most familiar name to Hoosier basketball fanatics. In his first year as a girls varsity coach, Bailey leads BNL into action in the 4A state championship game.
With 590 career wins, Fort Wayne Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger is already a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Behind senior Miss Basketball candidate Maura Muensterman, Steve Goans leads Evansville Mater Dei into the Class 3A title game on the heels of consecutive 2A titles.
No answer: Spears scores 30 as Martinsvlle ends TH South’s season
Terre Haute South ran into a championship performance Wednesday night in Game 2 of the Class 4A Avon Sectional for boys high school basketball. Martinsville’s Troy Spears scored 30 points while leading the Artesians to a 65-44 victory that ended South’s season.
North falls to No. 5 Brownsburg in Class 4A Avon Sectional
Terre Haute North did not bow out of the boys high school basketball tournament Tuesday night like a team on a seven-game losing streak.
The Patriots executed their gameplan, battled back from a double-digit deficit and forced Class 4A No. 5-ranked Brownsburg to hit free throws to win the opener of the Class 4A Avon Sectional.
Brownsburg (19-2) hit six straight free throws in the final 1 minute, 15 seconds to hold off the Patriots 51-47.
Two sets of Eels win at WRV Sectional
There’ll be no Cinderella story in Dugger to end this boys high school basketball season, and a spirited upset bid also fell short Tuesday night at the Class A White River Valley Sectional.
Defensive pressure and depth made the difference in both games, as Eminence ended the Union season — perhaps its last, at least as a public school — by a 59-46 score and Clay City pulled away in the second half for a 53-44 win over Shakamak.
Paris knocks off 23-2 Clinton Central in overtime sectional thriller
Paris’ boys basketball team has learned a lot in a late-season run of success, but the one thing that set the Tigers apart on Tuesday in Class 2A Westville Sectional semifinal game was composure.
The Tigers never got rattled, never flinched and got the ultimate reward.
BOYS SECTIONAL ROUNDUP: Linton holds off Sullivan at North Knox
Linton and Eastern posted victories in the opening round of the North Knox Class 2A Sectional on Tuesday.
Linton led most of the way to defeat Sullivan 51-43 in the first game. Eastern Greene bested North Central 62-42 in the nightcap.
Linton is 16-6 and will take on North Knox and Eastern Greene faces South Knox in the semifinals on Friday. North Knox takes an 11-game winning streak into the action.
Tough roads ahead: Terre Haute North faces big challenges in its sectional
With the hope that the obligatory snow is already on the ground, high school boys basketball sectionals begin today in Indiana, and for one Wabash Valley team in Illinois.
South swimmers fall short of lofty goals at state finals
Sometimes the journey is more rewarding than the destination.
That would best describe Terre Haute South’s performances Saturday in the 77th annual IHSAA boys swimming and diving state championships at the IU Natatorium.
Center Grove deals Terre Haute North 7th loss in row
Terre Haute North and Center Grove – two teams that haven’t won much lately – struggled to put the finishing touch against the other on Friday at North.
Prep roundup: Casey falls at Robinson Regional; Paris posts upset win at home
Teutopolis finished strong Friday night to defeat Casey 47-36 and win the Robinson Class 2A Regional for boys basketball teams.
Casey, Paris to play in regional title games
Championships of Illinois regional boys high school basketball tournaments will be decided tonight.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Bringing you the Amey Teams for girls basketball
Our Wabash Valley teams won’t be represented when the Indiana girls state basketball finals return again to Hulman Center on March 8 (even though the Class 4A title will probably be decided this weekend when Lawrence North plays Bedford North Lawrence in a semistate game).
I wish some of our girls teams had been able to play longer for a purely selfish reason: that might have given me an opportunity to see one or two of their games.
South boys fall to Southport, finish regular season 8-14
Terre Haute South got an up-close look Thursday night at what a Conference Indiana championship boys basketball team looks like. And Southport is big and quick.
Southport, led by 6-foot-10 sophomore Joey Brunk and junior guard Malik Bennett overpowered South’s Braves 61-49 at Southport Fieldhouse. Brunk had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Bennett scored 21 points.
VIDEO: Wilhelm leads South swimmers into state finals
Christian Wilhelm plans to compete in the distance freestyle when he gets to the University of Illinois-Chicago’s downtown campus.
Wilhelm emerged as a state qualifier in the 500-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle as a junior for Terre Haute South. But his senior season took a different turn and he’s hoping to make a big splash in a new event.
Casey advances to regional title game
Casey will be in the championship game of the Class 2A Robinson Regional for boys high school basketball teams Friday night. The Warriors gained their spot in the title tilt with a 55-42 victory over Marshall on Wednesday.
- More High School Headlines
- Linton, Clay City coaches pulling for each other Saturday in IHSAA basketball regionals