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March 5, 2014

North falls to No. 5 Brownsburg in Class 4A Avon Sectional

AVON — 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.

“We battled back. We competed. Down 12 at halftime, our guys showed a tremendous amount of poise, composure and character against a really good team,” North coach Todd Woelfle said.

Controlling the tempo with a deliberate offensive gameplan, North got points from seven different players while shooting 71 percent (17 of 24) from the floor.

Kobi Riley led the Patriots with 12 points, followed by Charlie Aimone and Austin Kurashima with 10 each.

Brownsburg, who will face Mooresville at 6 p.m. Friday at Avon, was led by junior guard Darrian Ringo with 19 points and junior forward K.J. Walton with 16. Brownsburg shot 56 percent (18 of 32) from the floor and hit 11 of 16 free throws, including 9 of 10 hit the fourth quarter.

“You just give Brownsburg credit,” Woelfle said.

North took a seven-game losing streak into the sectional and trailed 30-18 at halftime. But the Patriots weren’t ready to get on the bus and coach Woelfle praised seniors Austin Benson and Mitchell Dennany for North attitude.

“What happened tonight on the floor was a product of [Benson’s and Dennany’s] leadership through the entire year. They led this young group of guys. I’m very proud of them and extremely proud of the effort and focus tonight of the entire team,” Woelfle said.

Staying within the ball-control gameplan, North started chipping away at the Brownsburg lead. The Patriots played error-free ball for nearly five minutes and great defense.

North opened the third period with an 11-2 run, or make that a walk. Kurashima converted a pass from Braxton Poore into a basket that cut Brownsburg’s lead to 32-29 with 2:50 to play in the quarter.

Brownsburg took a 36-31 lead into the final eight minutes and went ahead 39-31 on a three-point play by Ringo in the first minute.

But C.J. Brown hit two free throws, Andrew Farmer knocked in a 3-pointer, Brown added two more free throws and Aimone scored two and with 5:05 to play North trailed by just one, 41-40.

North stayed within one possession of Brownsbug until the final 16 seconds. With 1:59 to play, the Patriots were whistled for their 10th foul, putting the Bulldogs in the double bonus, and they took full advantage of the opportunities.

Riley hit two free throws to bring the Patriots within one, 47-46, with 57 second to play. But Brownsburg did not miss free throws.

“[Brownsburg] just had guys step to the line who weren’t great free-throw shooters through the season, percentage wise, and stepped up there and were able to seal the deal,” Woelfle said.

North usually turned the ball over 20-plus times this season, but not against Brownsburg. The Patriots committed 13 turnovers for the night, four in the second half.

North turned the ball over three times in the first two minutes of the game, but Brownsburg led just 6-0 when Woelfle called timeout. Austin Kurashima scored North’s first points of the sectional with 5:52 left in the opening quarter.

“We got off to a poor start. Some of that is for some of our guys this is their first time to play in a sectional,” Woelfle said.

North played error-free, half-court offense for 4:42 and took a lead on Brownsburg.

A 3 by North’s Poore tied the score 6-6. Riley scored three baskets inside to give the Patriots a 12-10 lead with 1:48 left in the quarter.

Brownsburg responded with a 10-0 lead, taking a 15-12 lead into the second quarter and 20-12 advantage before Riley netted North’s first basket of the period, ending a drought of 4:33.

The Bulldogs led 30-18 at halftime as the Patriots didn’t score in the final 1:50.

Holding Brownsburg to six points in the third period, while executing their gameplan, North rallied and gave their fans something to look forward to next season.

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