News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 2, 2013

Falling short: North, South have seasons end with losses in overtime

Andy Amey
The Tribune-Star

MOORESVILLE — Both Terre Haute South and Terre Haute North got extra boys high school basketball Friday night at the Class 4A Mooresville Sectional, but neither was rewarded for it.

The seasons of both teams ended instead, the Braves falling 71-68 in two overtimes to the host Pioneers and the Patriots losing in one extra session to Martinsville 47-42.

Mooresville and Martinsville play at 7 p.m. today for the championship.

As the final score indicates, Friday’s second game wasn’t a masterpiece of shotmaking. The winning Artesians had just 10 field goals, none in overtime, and shot just 29 percent from the field as North put up a solid defensive effort.

The hard-nosed defense resulted in some foul trouble for the Patriots, however, perhaps keeping them from pulling farther ahead in the first half and causing them to play shorthanded in part of the second quarter and almost all of overtime.

Martinsville hit 22 free throws in the game, but missed four in a row in the last 50 seconds of regulation time to let North catch up. The Patriots did so on four straight free throws by Nate Jahn, the last two with 5.2 seconds left.

Hunter Stropes of the Artesians, who hadn’t scored the entire game, found himself alone at the top of the key and drove to the basket in the first minute of overtime, drawing Calvin Blank’s fifth foul in the process.

The Artesians still missed five more free throws in the extra period, but were successful on nine of them. North tied the score once, on two Steven Davis free throws with 2:16 left that made it 40-40, but didn’t score again until the final 13 seconds.

North, which shot just 31 percent itself, led 8-5 at the first stop, then went three minutes without scoring in the second quarter to let Martinsville take the lead. The Artesians went even colder at that point, however, and North got the last nine points of the half and the first two of the third quarter to lead 19-11.

And then the Patriots didn’t get another field goal until early in the fourth quarter, Martinsville surging — if that’s the word — to a 25-20 lead. North had a 9-0 run, getting its last lead at 34-33 on a basket by Blank with 2:41 left. Then Martinsville got five straight, taking the lead before losing it with its free throw woes.

Troy Spears had a game-high 20 points for the winners, with Greg Spina adding 12. Davis led the Patriots with 11 points. And in a game when neither team could shoot well, defense and physical play was paramount, and Martinsville controlled the boards 48-34.

With 5-foot-8 T.J. Hurt doing a masterful defensive job on South’s Jeffrey Turner, the Braves trailed the entire first half of the opener before a sequence inspired by Preston Tofaute — a blocked shot, a steal, and assist and a 3-pointer — sent the Braves on a 12-2 run for a 35-31 lead at the start of the third quarter.

“He’s been our energy guy all year,” coach Scott Ridge said of Tofaute. “His contributions can’t show up in the boxscore ... but everybody kind of looks to him on defense.”

The lead changed hands seven times in the third quarter and South didn’t trail in the fourth period. Lane Weaver of Mooresville stole the ball and turned it into a tying basket at 54-54 with 1:06 left in regulation and neither team scored from there.

South blew a layup off the overtime tipoff, and Mooresville soon had a 60-56 lead, but a 3-pointer by Logan Steward and two free throws by Turner overcame that. South had a 63-62 lead and had seemingly snagged a clinching defensive rebound with 2.6 seconds left, but a foul was whistled and Mooresville sophomore Bailey Suter hit the second of two free throws to send the game to a second overtime.

South had the first two leads there, but Hurt was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws to put his team ahead to stay.

“I wish we would’ve won, but it was a fun tournament and a fun game,” Ridge said afterward. “We just came up short to a good team.”

Kevaris Gregory, who kept the Braves in the game in the first half, led South with 21 points and forced the Pioneers from their diamond-and-one defense to a triangle-and-two. Timmy Herrin scored 14, Steward 10 and Turner — with just two field goal attempts in the regulation time — had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Jacob Johnson of Mooresville was kept under control by the South defense too, although he got to the line often enough to finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and added seven assists. Hurt added 18 and Keith Kassen 14 for the winners.

“That’s two of the best players in the state,” Ridge said of Turner and Johnson. “We were doubling and triple-teaming [Johnson] and [the Pioneers] were doubling and triple-teaming Jay.

“He played well,” Ridge said of Turner. “He was patient and he didn’t force things, and that’s the sign of a good teammate.

“We’re losing five really good seniors,” Ridge added, speaking of Turner, Gregory, Preston Tofaute, Steward and Shane Stanley. “They’re going to go on to be really great people.”

Spence Tofaute, a valuable part of South’s rotation all year, was unavailable because of an injury.