By MITZI THOMPSON
A glass-half-empty kind of person — or maybe a head coach — might look at the last 62 seconds of Saturday’s Class A Loogootee Regional and see a few “careless turnovers” and “not great decisions.”
But a glass-half-full kind of person — or perhaps a kid who just cut down the regional nets for the first time in his life — might see things a little differently.
“That was by far the best game we’ve ever played,” said a keyed-up Garrett Vick after helping his Borden boys’ basketball team to a 43-42 barnburner over Barr-Reeve in the championship game Saturday night. “Barr-Reeve is so physical. They’re bigger than us and they’re stronger than us, but we beat them. … That was so much fun! We’re going to semistate.”
The 22-3 and 10th-ranked Braves will play University (15-11) in Saturday’s XXXX Semi-State. The Trailblazers, who are located in Carmel, defeated Baptist Academy 46-39 and Jac-Cen-Del 64-46 at the Martinsville Regional to advance to the semi-state.
Vick scored a pair of key field goals in the final quarter to give the Braves a four-point lead, 42-38, with just a little more than two minutes left in the game.
After that, things got intense and — at times — a little out of control.
After Barr-Reeve’s Micah Bullock connected on an alley-oop pass from teammate Logan James to close the gap to two, Borden turned the ball over on the ensuing possession thanks to some aggressive defense by the Vikings (24-2).
Bullock, who earlier in the quarter kept Barr-Reeve within close range with back-to-back 3-pointers, was then fouled on a layup attempt but missed both with 42 seconds remaining.
Twelve ticks later, James intercepted a Borden pass and was fouled on a layup.
He, too, missed both free throws.
With 28 seconds left, James put Borden senior Billy Kirchgessner at the line, where the senior connected on the first of two, making it 43-40.
“There were just some careless turnovers and guys holding the ball too long and doing things we shouldn’t do,” Borden coach Doc Nash said of the final minute. “But our kids came through and found a way to win. I’m so happy for this group to get to experience something like this.”
“Until Billy hit that free throw, I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go,” said Vick, before remembering what happened just seconds after Kirchgessner’s foul shot. “Oh, but then that kid went to the line …”
That kid — James, to be exact — took a 3-point shot with 0.3 seconds on the game clock from the right wing and was touch-fouled by Borden senior Cody Bachman and had the opportunity to send the game into overtime.
“…so when he missed that first shot, that’s when I knew it was ours,” finished Vick.
“He’s a tough kid,” Nash said of James, who is just a freshman. “He’s going to have a heck of a career.”
The Vikings had only dropped one game this season prior to Saturday — a three-point loss against Loogootee in January — and was ranked third in the final Class A poll. They averaged 56 points per game and held opponents to an average of only 37.
Saturday, the Braves gave them a little more than they could handle.
After holding a one-point lead at the half, the Vikings could do nothing to squelch the barrage thrown at them by Borden Jalen McCoy in the third quarter.
After being held to just two made field goals in the first half, the senior guard unloaded with four 3-pointers from the top of the key in the third — one from a good six feet behind the arc.
“I knew my teammates needed me to step up for them,” said McCoy, who finished with 17 points for the Braves. Fellow senior Michael Lynch scored 10.
Borden opened the day with a one-point win, 52-51, over Orleans (13-11) to advance to Saturday’s championship game.
After falling behind 41-35 with 6:11 to play in the game, Borden went on an 9-0 run in just over two minutes to take a 44-41 lead with 3:51 left.
Kirchgessner started the run with a nifty bank shot around the basket and Lynch followed with a shot in the post to make it 41-39. Two Lynch free throws tied the game before a McCoy 3 forced Orleans coach Tom Bradley to call a timeout.
Borden never trailed again, although the Bulldogs cut the gap to one point on three occasions, including a Murphy Wheeler 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left.
On the ensuing inbounds pass, Bachman throw a football-style pass to a streaking McCoy, who dribbled twice and got pulled the ball back out. He then threw a pass to Kirchgessner, who tossed the ball into the air as time expired.
McCoy led the Braves with 17 points, including seven in the first quarter as Borden ran out to an 11-7 lead.
In the second, four different Braves scored a field goal as they took a 20-16 lead into the half.
Orleans appeared to have taken control with a 20-12 advantage in the third quarter, in which Trey Bradley scored seven of his game-high 23 points.
Kirchgessner finished with 13 points, three assists and three steals, and Lynch added 11 points and four steals in the semifinal win.
Borden went just 14-of-46 from the field, including 3-of-12 from behind the 3-point line, in the win. However, the Braves were 21 for 26 from the charity stripe, compared to 7-of-8 for Orleans.
It was the second one-point win over the Bulldogs this season for Borden. The Braves won at Orleans 37-36 on Jan. 25.
— Greg Mengelt contributed
CLASS A BORDEN REGIONAL
BORDEN 43, BARR-REEVE 42
Borden 9 13 14 7—43
Barr-Reeve 9 14 7 12—42
Borden (22-3): Jalen McCoy 17, Michael Lynch 10, Garrett Vick 6, Josh Vollstedt 4, Billy Kirchgessner 4, Josh Ruedinger 2.
Barr-Reeve (24-2): Micah Bullock 20, Addison Wagler 11, Logan James 6, Heath Graber 3, Jacob Bledsoe 2.
3-point field goals: Borden 6 (McCoy 4, Kirchgessner, Lynch); Barr-Reeve 5 (Bullock 4, James).
Rebounds: Borden 17 (Kirchgessner 5, Vick 5); Barr-Reeve 20 (Bullock 6).
Turnovers: Borden 8; Barr-Reeve 9.
BORDEN 52, ORLEANS 51
Orleans 7 9 20 15—51
Borden 11 9 12 20—52
Orleans (13-11): Trey Bradley 23, Cale Hall 11, Tommy Mitchell 9, Jake Barkley 4, Murphy Wheeler 3, Steven Phillips 2.
Borden (21-3): McCoy 17, Kirchgessner 13, Lynch 11, Vick 7, Ruedinger 2, Cody Bachman 2.
3-point field goals: Orleans 5 (Mitchell 3, Wheeler, Hall); Borden 3 (McCoy 3).
Rebounds: Orleans 18 (Barkley 6); Borden 16 (Vick 4).
Turnovers: Orleans 13, Borden 10.