ALBION, IN. – All LaVille girl’s basketball coach Corey Duncan wanted her squad to do was fight. Not a physical fist-fight, but to endeavor vigorously to win.
It was the first round of the Indiana High School Athletic Association Class 2A state basketball tournament. The Lancers drew rival Bremen in the second semifinal round of the Central Noble Sectional Friday night.
LaVille and Bremen had round one of the schedule back on November 6. The Lions shoved the Lancers around to the tune of a 60-26 romp. Bremen pressed and harassed LHS into 28 turnovers and just 10 second-half points.
Not so much this time around.
The Lancers controlled the tempo from the tip, handled the press much better than back in November, and, quite honestly, gave themselves a fighting chance.
“We didn’t let the trap and press hurt us like last time,” said Duncan. “We took care of the ball and kept in our hands as much as we could. Take one and a half to two minutes off the clock during an offensive possession kept the game in reach for us.”
LaVille trailed 6-2 at the end of the first quarter and 19-6 at halftime, but one could tell the Lancers were a little more determined in the second half.
LaVille played one of its best quarters of the season during a third period that saw the Bremen lead hold at 29-22 for quite some time. In fact, LHS had five crucial stops with a chance to cut even more into the Bremen lead, but just get a shot to fall.
“We were down 13 at halftime and we really had the kids focus on chipping away at the lead,” said Duncan. “We talk about must score and must stop possessions. Our final key of the game was to fight…. fight for 32 minutes and I felt we did just that.
“Our 3rd quarter was the best I’d seen us play all year,” continued Duncan as she watched her crew outscore the Lions 14-10. “We were with in 6 or 7 most of the quarter with chances to cut the lead even fewer.”
As the LaVille fight continued, the one thing the Lancers were not going to do was let Bremen’s top three scorers get easy points. Karlee Feldman, Kaelyn Shively, and Erin Coffel that do a majority of the scoring lead BHS. Friday, LaVille held Feldman to zero points, and both Shively and Coffel below their season averages. It was the first time all season that Feldman had been held scoreless.
“Our game plan was to be physical with Feldman and get the ball out of Coffel’s hands and make her other teammates make decisions,” said Duncan. “I felt we did those things and we ruined the flow of their offense because of it.
“Last year during the semi-final of Bi-County, we had a plan to try and frustrate Feldman,” continued Duncan. “We wanted to use that same game plan, but do it even better. I felt we did just that.”
Senior Julia Hall with 10 points and eight rebounds led LaVille. Senior Kelsey Aschenbrenner hit a pair of 3-pointers for six points and handed out five assists.
“We are going to miss our seniors,” said Duncan. “I wish Hannah (Filley) would have had more time with us. She does so many things well, just had a lack of experience. Trinity Strange was a type of kid that showed commitment and love to the game. The two with the most experience, Julia and Kelsey, did a nice job and led this young team well. They both played very well tonight. It was their last game and that’s always hard as a coach to watch your seniors leave.
After watching her team start the season by taking a hit of 94% of the offense gone, Coach Duncan’s crew continued to work hard and make improvement.
“I am very proud of the team tonight,” concluded Duncan. “They’ve come so far. The press and trap that would force us into 30+ turnovers at the beginning of the year didn’t bother us the last quarter of the season. JT Beehler, Angie Dunlap, Steve Cox and John Willoughby are such a great team to work with. We divided and conquered this season and the kids saw the result of that.”
* * * * *
BREMEN 35, LAVILLE 24
Bremen 6 19 29 35
LaVille – Cox 6, Rock 2. Gonzalez 0, Aschenbrenner 6, Beehler 0, Giles 0, Dove 0, Filley 0, Hall 10, Tribbey 0, Medors 0. Totals: 11 0-1 24
Bremen – Shively 8, Vermillion 0, Foster 9, Duran 4, Coffel 10, Rodriguez 4, Feldman 0. Totals: 12 6-11 35
3-point field goals: LaVille 2 (Aschenbrenner 2), Bremen 5 (Foster 3, Shively 2).
Total fouls (fouled out): LaVIlle 11 (none), Bremen 11 (none)