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December 7, 2012

Otter Creek, Woodrow Wilson winners in middle school boys basketball championships

TERRE HAUTE — Otters and Warriors went toe-to-toe in the Vigo County sixth- and seventh-grade boys basketball championships Thursday at Terre Haute South.

The schools split the difference in the game and both emerged as winners.

Woodrow Wilson won the sixth-grade championship game 52-33 and Otter Creek won an exciting seventh-grade championship game by a 39-38 count.

Woodrow Wilson’s sixth-grade champions were led by Dexter Shouse, who scored 16 points and 11 rebounds. It was a balanced attack for Woodrow Wilson, though, as Kenyon Sholty also had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Andrew Morgan paced the Otters with 14 points in the seventh-grade championship. Evan Funkhouser had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the winners.

In the sixth-grade game, a slowed-down tempo and foul trouble for Shouse played into Otter Creek’s hand. Though Woodrow Wilson led 6-3 after a quarter, an 8-2 Otters’ run helped them take a 9-6 lead. Otter Creek’s Cayman Hayes scored seven points in the rally.

Shouse re-entered late in the second quarter and made a big difference. He scored five of the Warriors’ points in a 10-2 run that restored Woodrow Wilson’s lead. Jake Steele scored the last five points of the half off the bench as the Warriors led 23-16.

“Obviously has gone through [Shouse] this year, but we have no problem with set plays. I’ve got no problem with any of these guys. We’ve got great wings. We’ve got guys who can score. We’ve got guys who can handle the ball. I think even if we didn’t have Dexter, we’d be county champions,” Woodrow Wilson sixth-grade coach Eric Williams said.

The Warriors took control in the second half opening with a 7-0 run to salt the game WW. Though Shouse was on the floor for all of it he did a good job keeping teammates involved as the scoring was spread around. The Warriors’ size was also too much as they had a 35-19 rebounding edge.

Shelby Sykes led the Otters with 15 points while Hayes added 13.

Woodrow Wilson completed a perfect sixth-grade season at 13-0.

The seventh-grade game was a study in contrasts as jump-shooting Woodrow Wilson met an Otter Creek team that wanted to pound it in the paints.

The Otters held sway early as it continually created chances for its big men to catch-and-shoot it down low. Otter Creek led 13-3 midway through the first quarter.

“We had to take advantage of our size inside. We had a size advantage and when we remembered to do that, we were hard to stop,” said Otter Creek seventh-grade coach Brent Mier. The Otters had a 42-33 edge on the boards.

When Woodrow Wilson post player Kendall Riley returned from early foul trouble, the Warriors began to make progress as buckets didn’t come as easy to the Otters.

An 8-0 run that encompassed the late first quarter and early second helped the Warriors pull within one. The margin remained that way at halftime as Otter Creek led 20-19.

The game morphed into a 3-point shooting contest as the lead changed hands seven times in the third quarter alone. The Warriors led 32-30 by the end of the stanza.

The margin never got bigger than three points in the final period. A Colton Panaranto jumper at 1:36 gave the Otters the only three-point cushion of the quarter, but Jovan Morris’ 17-footer with 40 seconds left cut the Otters’ lead to one.

“We were here last year and we didn’t stay composed. Sarah Scott got us rattled and I think the boys learned from that. We stayed in control,” Mier said.

Woodrow Wilson had the last possession. A Morris shot rolled out with 10 seconds left. He rebounded and Gabe Foust’s long-range jumper with three seconds left was short. Otter Creek held on.

Morris led the Warriors with 13 points. Otter Creek finished its championship campaign at 11-1.

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