News From Terre Haute, Indiana

High School

January 26, 2013

North boys pull away late to top rival South

TERRE HAUTE — When they finally took the court Friday night, the boys basketball teams from Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South faced a nearly impossible task: trying to match the drama that had unfolded ahead of them during what might have been the best North-South girls game ever.

And for 26 1/2 minutes, they almost got it done.

South went cold at precisely the wrong time, a nearly five-minute drought after the Braves had taken their second and final lead at 36-35. The result was a 15-3 Patriot run and a 50-39 decision for North.

But yes, it was a lot closer than the final score indicated.

If there’s one thing both coaches would like to take from Friday night’s game, it would be the promise of similar effort from their respective teams as Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference play continues next weekend.

Everything was contested. Loose balls during the tense second half threatened to precipitate all-out war on at least two occasions. Defense was hard-nosed. Toughness was very much in evidence.

All those facts are plusses in the South book, because the young Braves showed they are learning to compete that way more than they had on some occasions earlier in the season.

North may have entered Friday’s game having earned a little more credibility in those areas, and coach Todd Woelfle’s Patriots certainly had the edge in experience.

But after the Patriots raced to leads of 8-2 early in the first quarter and 18-9 in the opening moments of the second period, it was the Braves who showed some grit.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Jeffrey Turner and Kevaris Gregory got the Braves within 19-17. After a basket by North’s Patrick Hart, Shane Stanley and Timmy Herrin tallied for South, and with 2:40 left in the first half the score was tied for the first time at 21-21.

Hart got another basket with 44.5 seconds left in the half, giving North a 23-21 lead at the break, but the Braves opened the second half with a driving layup by Herrin and the score was tied again.

Nate Jahn broke the tie for North with a runner off glass, and Calvin Blank added a three-point play. South wouldn’t die, however, and was back within 32-31 when Stanley drained a 3-pointer. After a free throw by North’s A.J. Grady, a rebound basket by Preston Tofaute tied the score at 33, which is where it stayed after three quarters.

South missed a layup to open the fourth quarter, but after two minutes of last-period play the Braves finally got their first lead at 34-33 on a Turner free throw — South’s only one of the game, as it turned out. Five seconds later Hart was fouled at the other end and hit two free throws, but Herrin’s basket at 5:34 made it 36-35.

Coach Scott Ridge’s Braves didn’t score again until the final minute of the game, however. By that time a basket by Hart had put North ahead to stay; single free throws by Austin Lewis, Blank and Lewis again widened the margin a little at a time; and a rebound basket by Blank and four free throws by Jahn got the lead to 10 points.

Blank, who had North’s first 10 points of the game, led all scorers with 21 points and led North rebounders with eight. The unexpected offensive heroes were Jahn, with a career-high 14 points, and Hart with 10 points, seven rebounds and a little more ferocity than usual.

Herrin led South with 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Although North’s defense did good jobs on Turner and Gregory, the two South seniors were patient and battled, helping the Braves win the rebound battle — not many probably predicted that — with eight each.

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