News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 23, 2013

Rockville holds off determined Terre Haute South Braves to cap 22-0 regular-season record

TERRE HAUTE — The last step for Rockville’s undefeated boys high school basketball season was anything but an easy one Friday night in the Rock-a-Dome.

Visiting Terre Haute South and Jeffrey Turner had their best quarters of the season in the second period, turning an early 11-4 deficit into a lead that reached nine when Turner hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer just before intermission.

A scrambling, physical trapping defense that had helped the Braves keep the home team off-balance in the first half led to early fouls in the third quarter, however, and the Rox improved to 22-0 with an 83-71 win.

“I didn’t think we responded very well [in the first half],” coach Dave Mahurin of the Rox said afterward. “When you play a Terre Haute South or a Terre Haute North, it’s a totally different game … we didn’t match [South’s] physicality at all and we didn’t press with any intensity. But I thought we came out in the second half with a different attitude.”

“It was a scary first half,” said Lane Mahurin of the Rox, “but we trust in our guys, and they came around.”

Turner, who had 22 points by halftime and was 8 for 11 from the field, got his third and fourth fouls in the first 72 seconds of the third quarter while Rockville was closing the gap to 42-40.

Spence Tofaute, who took up a lot of the scoring slack for the Braves in the second half, got the next four points, but Rockville got eight in a row — 3-pointers by Nick Waltz and Jordon McFall and a layup by Lane Mahurin — to take a 48-46 lead, its first advantage since the end of the first quarter.

A basket by Kevaris Gregory tied the score for the last time at 48, but the Rox got two more 3-pointers — Gary Ulrich and McFall — and had the lead to stay. Turner, who had been on the bench for all but a few seconds after his fourth foul, picked up his fifth a minute into the fourth period.

“I’m proud of how hard the kids played,” said coach Scott Ridge of the Braves. “It was a tough situation ... I thought [the referees] called too many fouls on us — [Turner] only played a minute in the second half.”

South was within 57-55 when Spence Tofaute got a three-point play moments after Turner had fouled out. Lane Mahurin got five straight points, Spence Tofaute answered with two free throws, and a 3-pointer by Ulrich was matched by South’s Logan Steward to keep the Braves within five at 67-62. Rockville then pretty much clinched the outcome with an 11-3 run.

Mahurin led all scorers with 35 points and he and McFall — who scored 21 — combined to go 11 for 11 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

Ulrich, who sat out the end of the second quarter with foul trouble, had 16 points of his own, while Waltz led all rebounders with 11 and Keiontre Wilkey had seven assists.

Turner, coming back after a bout with strep throat, had 24 points, seven rebounds and five steals in about 16 minutes — he was rested several times in the first half — while Spence Tofaute scored 16 and Gregory 12. Steward had seven assists for the Braves.

Ridge now hopes to get similar effort in postseason play from the Braves, who have a week off before playing a semifinal game at the Class 4A Mooresville Sectional.

“We’ve got to keep this going,” he said. “We’ve got to play a little better [next] Friday or we could be done.”

“South is playing well,” Dave Mahurin agreed. “Their win over Ben Davis was no fluke. They can make some noise in that sectional.”

As for the first unbeaten season in school history, the Rockville coach said, “I really don’t know what to think about it. We tried to take one game at a time, I think our schedule is the toughest it’s ever been … maybe it’s an indication that we’re pretty good, but we can also get beat on any given night.”

“It’s hard to imagine what we’ve accomplished,” Lane Mahurin, the coach’s son, added, “but I’m sure we’ll appreciate it in the future.”

“That’s a really good team we lost to,” Ridge pointed out. “They made some shots too.”

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SPT 071214 RYAN SABO.jpg

Tribune-Star/Bob Poynter Fetch and fire: Rex third baseman #15 Ryan Sabo looks to first base after fielding a line drive down the baseline during game action against Quincy. Sabo got the runner for an out.

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