Borden trailed University 41-37 with five minutes to play in Saturday’s Class A semistate.
It was the fourth straight tournament game that the Braves played from behind in the final minutes. It was the fourth straight game the Braves pulled out a victory in dramatic fashion.
Borden closed out the Trailblazers with a 10-3 run for a 47-44 victory and advanced to next Saturday’s Class A state championship game against Triton at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
“I’ll tell you what, I got some winners on my team,” Borden coach Doc Nash said. “I’ll take them any day of the week. We found another way to win.”
“We don’t necessarily want to do it this way, but it’s just how it’s worked out,” Braves’ senior Jalen McCoy said. “Luckily, we’ve come out on top every time.”
After blowing out New Washington in their second sectional game, the Braves needed late pushes in wins over Lanesville for the sectional championship and against Orleans and Barr-Reeve — both one-point victories — in the Loogootee Regional.
McCoy, who has made his share of big plays down the stretch in the past three games, said the experience of holding off Orleans and Barr-Reeve a week before helped Borden in Saturday’s state-clinching triumph.
“We have the experience,” McCoy said. “We had to do it both games in the regional and we did it again tonight. We battled back and we got the win.”
“Those kids have always played well together,” University coach Paul Gianakos said. “They know what they need to do to win games. That shows that they’re a veteran team. All of their games have been close games and they just don’t panic. They have a good team.”
In Saturday’s victory, Borden led 9-0 early, 15-8 at the end of the first quarter and 26-21 at the half before University stormed back to take the lead through three quarters.
The Trailblazers’ 41-26 run from late in the first quarter to early in the fourth would have spooked most teams.
“They fought back and took the lead, but we just kept fighting and fighting,” Braves’ senior Michael Lynch said. “And we came out victorious.”
Only 20-5 Triton, which will be making its fourth state finals trip in six years, stands between Borden and a state championship.
It will be the Braves’ toughest task yet. If history’s any indication, counting them out would be a mistake.
“Our community really wants it and we want to give it to them,” Borden senior point guard Billy Kirchgessner said. “It’s great to be the first team ever and we can always say that.”
DID YOU KNOW?
• After Saturday's 47-44 win over University, Borden is 11-0 against teams that finished their season with an above-.500 record, while the Braves are 12-3 against teams with records below .500.
• Borden is 7-1 in games decided by three points or fewer or in overtime this season.
• Borden is 45-5 over the past two seasons and 59-14 over the past three. Nash is 115-49 overall as a head coach and 104-39 in the past six seasons, which includes four sectional titles, two regionals and, as of Saturday’s 47-44 win over University, the school’s first semistate title.
• Only Carmel (24-2), Cathedral (25-5) and Linton-Stockton (24-3) enter next Saturday’s state finals with a better winning percentage than the Braves, who are 23-3 (88.5 percent).
• Borden and Triton were tied at No. 10 in the final Associated Press Class A poll.
• The south semistate has won the last two Class A state titles (Indianapolis Metropolitan in 2011 and Loogootee in 2012) and three of the last four (Jac-Cen-Del in 2009).
• The state finals appearance is Triton’s fourth in the last six years, including a Class A championship in 2008 when it earned a 52-40 victory over Indianapolis Lutheran, which had knocked off Borden in its first semistate appearance.
• Triton coach Jason Groves is 159-41, including six sectional titles, four regional crowns and four semistate championships and a state championship, in eight years as the Trojans’ head coach.
• The Trojans have won 17-of-19 and are currently on a 12-game winning streak. Triton is 10-1 against Class A teams with the only loss coming on Jan. 11 to Culver, which finished the season 13-9. Triton beat Culver 44-32 to open sectional play at Triton. Borden is 18-1 against Class A foes. Its loss came to Springs Valley (11-12).