by Gary Andrews
For the first time in 9 years, there will not be a Wabash County team in the boys’ sectional championship game Saturday. The Northfield Norse took on Oak Hill in game one, falling to the Golden Eagles 66-46. In game two, Manchester battled Lewis Cass, falling to the Kings 69-57.
After getting off to a 2-0 start on a Tanner Wilcox bucket the Norse would not find the hoop again in the quarter with Oak Hill scoring 14 straight to lead 14-2 after one. Gerritt Taylor led the Oak Hill attack with 10 of the 14 points.
After a slow first quarter for the Norse, things didn’t get much better in the second. Tanner Wilcox converted a three point play and later had a bucket to cut the lead to 16-7, but the Eagles behind Jon Mauk’s 6 points out scored the Norse 12-6 to increase their lead to 26-9 at the half.
The first couple minutes of the third quarter would be crucial for the Norse as they needed to cut in to the Oak Hill lead to have a shot heading to the fourth. Just the opposite happened for the Norse as the Golden Eagles scored the first 9 points of the quarter to open a 37-9 lead that would be near impossible to claw out of, but the Norse would give it a shot. Behind the hot shooting of Noah Shear the Norse had their best scoring quarter, putting up 22 points, but Oak Hill continued their torrid shooting, out scoring the Norse 25-22 to lead 51-31 with a quarter to go.
The two teams would play to a 15-15 tie in the fourth with the Norse never being able to get closer than 18 points as Oak Hill moved on with a 66-46 win.
Leading Northfield was Tanner Wilcox with 18 points. Noah Shear added 14, Jon Richardson 9, Austin Trump 2, Ryan Driscoll 2, and Christian Hawkins 1.
Leading Oak Hill was Gerritt Taylor with 23 points. David Horner added 14, Jon Mauk 13, Reese Metzger 7, Caleb Maggard 6, Chandler Julius 2, Kyle Byrd 1.
Game two was the much-anticipated Manchester, Lewis Cass showdown. The Squires were coming in 16-5 and the Kings were ranked #7 and 18-2.
Cass got the first bucket of the game, but the Squires quickly answered. Claudell Dickantone drained a three and after a Phoenix Goad steal for a bucket Manchester led 5-2. Cass would respond with 6 straight to take an 8-5 lead before Chase Fierstos found the range behind the arch to knot the score at 8. Cass then responded with a 9-3 run that opened a 17-11 lead for the Kings when Fierstos hit again from three land to make it 17-14 at the end of one.
Early in the second and down 22-18 Branden Scott would draw the Squires within two with two free throws, but with 3:09 on the clock the Kings responded with a 6-0 run to lead 28-20. Goad stopped the run with a bucket and after a Claudell Dickantone two the Squires trailed 30-24 at the half.
Cass would get the first 4 points of the third quarter to open a 10 point lead at 34-24 before a Dickantone bucket. The Kings kept out scoring the Squires in 4-2 spurts and led 40-27 when Dickantone drained a three and followed it with a steal for a bucket to cut the lead to 40-32. Cass would respond though, out scoring Manchester 8–2 the remainder of the quarter to lead 48-34 after three.
Manchester’s two leading scorers, Claudell Dickantone and Clayton Petrie would try to take things in their own hands in the fourth, scoring 22 of the teams 23 points scored in the quarter, but the Kings matched what the Squires had to offer in the 69-57 win.
Leading Manchester was Claudell Dickantone with 33 points. Clayton Petrie added 8, Chase Fierstos 6, Branden Scott 4, Phoenix Goad 4, Cameron Brandenburg 1, Cody Freeman 1.
Leading Cass was Austin Keesling with 24 points. Blake Hadley added 14, Owen Ohman 12, Evan Ohman 9, Ryan Bixler 4, Drew McRae 4, Destin Irwin 2.