When fans made their way to the ticket table just inside the doors of Sullivan High School Friday night, they knew what was on tap for the night.
It was a girls and boys Western Indiana Conference basketball doubleheader. What they may not have known? That no matter what their preferred style of game they’d hope to see, they’d get that and more.
From a low-scoring, defensive first game in girls action (48-14) to high-scoring, heart-pumping, hold-on-to-your-seats play in the boys game (76-72 double overtime) the fans got their money’s worth in a double-dip that saw Sullivan come out on top in each.
“They made big plays and we did too. We just made enough to get out of here with a win,” Sullivan boys coach Jeff Moore said after the double-OT victory.
From the start, it was clear the boys game was going to come down to the wire.
Neither team could quite get out of the grasp of the other, which made it a three-point Sullivan lead after the first, second and third quarters of play.
That set the stage for what turned into a thrilling finish.
West Vigo, trailing by nine with three minutes left to go in the game, turned to the bench and Case Lautenschlager, who has given the Vikings energy all season long.
He did again with a pair of offensive rebounds that led to a corner 3-pointer and a layup for him, making things a bit closer and only tightened up even more in the waning seconds of regulation.
“He came off the bench and did a great job for us. He has the ability to do that and he’s done that a few times for us this year,” West Vigo coach Joe Boehler said of Lautenschlager.
Down by three and only five seconds left on the clock, the ball was inbounded to Lautenschlager in the back court. He quickly got it over midcourt and hit Kaleb Hannahs, who caught the ball, used a pump fake to send Kaleb Thrasher flying past him and then proceeded to step into the shot and see it fall through the net to send the game into overtime.
The junior did it again at the end of the first overtime, as he caught a long outlet pass from Colton Yates and got the contested layup to go with 0.4 seconds left to put the contest into a second overtime.
“He hit some tough shots,” said Boehler of Hannahs’ clutch plays.
Sean Roberts opened what turned out to be the final period of the night with a jumper to put the visitors up. However, on the next possession, freshman Randy Kelley sunk a 3-pointer to take back the lead. The game got close as the clock slowly ticked away in double overtime, but West Vigo was never able to send it into a third overtime, as Kevin Figg made five of his six free throws down the stretch to put a cap on what had to be the game of the night around the Wabash Valley.
“[West Vigo] hit some tough shots when you thought they may be down and out, but our kids fought through it,” said Moore.
The girls game got off to a much slower start for each team, as points were at a premium.
Sullivan put in back-to-back baskets in a matter of 21 seconds of game time, but were then held scoreless for the next five minutes before doing it again, although this time it took 22 seconds for back-to-back scores put the Arrows up 8-0 after one period of play.
That lead was extended to 18 at the break, as Sullivan held the Vikings scoreless through the first half of play.
The Arrow offense picked up significantly in the second half, while the defense continued to shine.
It led to a balanced scoring attack with two ending the night in double-digits (Delainey Shorter and Reagan Holeman) and two more just shy of that (Gracie Shorter and Courtney Lueking). The quartet played a pivotal role in holding the Vikings to their fewest points since this time one year ago.
“It was a slow game, but our pressure helped score most of our points,” Sullivan coach Julie Meeks said. “It was an opportunity to have a collective effort tonight.”