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March 10, 2013

LOOGOOTEE REGIONAL: Braves win second regional crown

Borden gets two one-point wins to move into Class A Final 4

LOOGOOTEE — 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.  

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