By MITZI THOMPSON
The masses of small-town basketball fans lined up in a shivering queue waiting for the doors of Borden High School to open and allow them into the gymnasium for the championship game of the Class A boys’ basketball sectional Saturday certainly got a show worth their while.
The host Braves pulled out an impressive win over Lanesville 59-50 in front of the raucous, full-capacity crowd, thus earning a spot in Saturday’s Loogootee Regional against Orleans — the winner over Springs Valley in Saturday’s West Washington Sectional final.
Borden coach Doc Nash publicly thanked his team’s unofficial sixth man in a post-game speech after Saturday’s victory, citing the public support that has religiously followed the team over the season.
“There were people waiting outside at 4:30,” said Borden senior Cody Bachman, who scored a game-high 18 points, including a pivotal 3-point play in the fourth quarter to give his team a double-possession lead — its first in the second half.
“That’s a lot of pressure,” he added with a wide grin. “Not only are we playing for each other, but we’re also playing for all the people who waited out there so long to come in and watch us. It’s great to get this win for all of them.”
Bachman, who missed all of last post-season season with a broken leg, muscled the ball inside with 4:55 left Saturday and drew a foul from Lanesville’s Kevin Zollman then connected on the ensuing free throw to put Borden up 48-43.
After that, the 10th-ranked Braves’ seamless zone completely shut down Lanesville’s offense for four minutes until Ryan Fulkerson connected on a too-little, too-late 3-pointer with less than a minute to go, cutting Borden’s 10-point lead to seven.
“It’s upsetting because we thought we had it,” said Lanesville senior Alex Ansman, a standout for the Eagles who connected on just one field goal Saturday, but grabbed eight rebounds. “We were so ready and so excited for this, and it’s just sad to lose a game that we feel like we could have and should have won.”
Despite coming close on several occasions, Lanesville couldn’t quite take the lead in the first half, but a 3-pointer by Matthew Husband just minutes into the second put the Eagles up 28-27. At the end of the third quarter, they still led by one at 39-38.
“We knew it would be a close game from the start,” Bachman said. “They have tons of offensive weapons and we knew that. We knew it would be back and forth like that. We didn’t feel comfortable until maybe 45 seconds left.”
Coach Nash felt a little differently.
“I didn’t feel comfortable until that final horn blew,” he said with a laugh. “This was two good teams going at it in a great atmosphere. I think we all knew it was going to be a war.”
The Braves will face Orleans (13-10) in the first Loogootee Regional semifinal at 10:30 a.m. The winner will face either No. 3 Barr-Reeve (23-1) or Northeast Dubois (12-12) for the regional championship at 7:30 p.m.
CLASS A BORDEN SECTIONAL
BORDEN 59, LANESVILLE 50
Lanesville 12 9 18 11—50
Borden 14 9 15 21—59
Lanesville (13-9): Justin Miller 12, Jack Ferree 11, Ryan Fulkerson 11, Matthew Husband 10, Alex Ansman 4, Kevin Zollman 2.
Borden (19-3): Cody Bachman 18, Garrett Vick 12, Billy Kirchgessner 12, Jalen McCoy 10, Michael Lynch 7.
3-point goals: Lanesville 5 (Fulkerson 3, Ferree 1, Husband 1); Borden 1 (McCoy).
Rebounds: Lanesville 22 (Ansman 8); Borden 28 (Bachman 8).