TERRE HAUTE —
Rockville coach Dave Mahurin felt his team might have a letdown against Terre Haute North on Saturday night, less than a week after winning the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic.
“I was terrified of it,” Mahurin said. “We had a horrible week of practice, and a lot of sickness. We only practiced two days, and one of them was [Saturday].”
The Rox scored 33 second-half points after an admittedly lackluster first half to stay undefeated, topping the Patriots 48-44.
Lane Mahurin scored 14 of Rockville’s 15 first-half points, and North’s stingy defense held the rest of the Rox in check.
Mahurin finally got some help in the second half, and added 11 points in the final period to finish with 31 on the night.
“We really didn’t come to play in the first half,” said Mahurin, whose team trailed 23-15 at the break. “None of us played very well, and we had to step up in the second half.
“My teammates are the reason I got a lot of points,” the modest, soft-spoken senior added. “The plan wasn’t really to go to me that much, it just kind of worked out that way.”
North got 10 first-half points from senior Patrick Hart to take its lead at the break, but Hart picked up a pair of fouls in the third period and his time was limited the rest of the way.
Jordan McFall hit a 3-pointer with 5:01 left in the third period for the first non-Mahurin basket of the game for Rockville, and the Rox cut the gap to 27-22.
Joel Wittenmyer added a pair of baskets around one by Mahurin to help Rockville stay within five at 33-28 entering the final period.
North increased its lead to 40-33 on a Stephen Davis 3-pointer with 5:58 left, and it appeared North was going to hold off the pesky visitors.
The Rox switched to a run-and-jump defense that applied more pressure, and North would go without a field goal until 4.1 seconds left in the game.
“Tonight was the story of our season,” North Coach Todd Woelfle said. “We were able to put together two really good quarters in the first half. We’ve had good quarters and good halves, but have trouble putting together a whole game.”
North was without senior forward Austin Lewis, the team’s top defender and second-leading scorer who is resting a knee injured in the final game of the Pizza Hut Classic.
Rockville took the lead for good at 44-42 with 2:40 left on a basket and free throw by Mahurin, and North missed a layup on its ensuing possession.
The Patriots then fouled Rockville’s Keiontre Wilkey, not one of the team’s free throw shooters, with 55.5 seconds left to go and still trailing by only two.
Wilkey calmly stepped to the line and drained both shots, and Mahurin added a pair of late free throws to put the game away.
“We foul the guy we want to foul, and he steps up there and hits two big shots,” Woelfle said. “We had practiced for their pressure defense, and we didn’t handle it very well.
“It’s a credit to Rockville,” he added. “They are a team good enough to win a state championship.”
Gary Ulrich and WIttenmyer each added six points to support Mahurin’s outburst, while Davis led North with 13 points, Hart added 12 and Calvin Blank had 11.
The other Patriots only managed eight, however.
Blank had 10 boards to lead all rebounders.
ROCKVILLE (48) – Mahurin 13-21 5-9 31, McFall 1-3 0-0 3, Ulrich 2-5 1-2 6, Wittenmyer 3-4 0-1 6, Waltz 0-2 0-0 0 , Wilkey 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 19-35 FG, 8-14 FT, TP
TERRE HAUTE NORTH (44) – Blank 5-12 0-0 11, Davis 5-12 2-2 13, Jahn 0-2 0-2 0, Grady 0-1 0-0 0, Hart 6-9 0-0 12, Vickers 3-8 0-0 7, Dillahunt 0-0 0-1 1. Totals 19-44 FG, 3-4 FT, 44 TP
Rockville 5 10 13 20 — 48
Terre Haute North 9 14 10 11 — 44
3-point shooting — THN 3-10 (Blank 1-2, Davis 1-3, Jahn 0-1, Hart 0-1, Vickers 1-3), Rox 2-7 (Mahurin 0-1, McFall 1-3, Ulrich 1-3). FG Pct. — THN .432, Rox .543. FT Pct. — THN .750, Rox .425. Rebounds — THN 21 (Blank 10), Rox 17 (Mahurin 5). Turnovers — THN 8, Rox 7.
JV — Terre Haute North 41 (Charlie Aimone 8, Keshaun Sandifer 7), Rockville 15 (Matt Wake 5).
Next — Terre Haute North (7-5) hosts West Vigo on Friday while Rockville (12-0) plays at Covington the same night.