By TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
---- — Lewis Cass’ boys basketball team battled back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force an overtime session against Hamilton Heights, but the Huskies regained control in the extra session to claim a 73-70 win in both teams’ Mid-Indiana Conference opener Friday at Walton.
The Kings trailed 53-43 with 7:38 left in the regulation. Over the next five minutes, Cass went on a 17-5 run to take a 60-58 lead on Austin Keisling’s jumper with :50 left. Heights’ Kurry Miller tied it at 60-60 to send it into overtime.
In the overtime, the teams battled back and forth until the final minute. Heights led 72-67, when Blake Hadley hit a 20-foot 3-pointer to make the score 72-70 with :02.5 seconds left in the game.
Heights hit one of the two free throws to make it 73-70. Cass tried to tie it, but Jake Martin’s 3-pointer fell short.
“They had us outsized at every position,” Cass coach Jon Kitchel said. “They’re not only a tall team, they are an extremely physical team. They are very, very strong. But our guys have so much fight in them. They are battlers and they fight to the very end.
“We had a couple of opportunities there. If a break went our way, then it could have been a different outcome. We will live to fight another day.”
The Huskies gained control in the second quarter, outscoring the Kings 20-13 in the quarter to take a 35-25 halftime lead. The Huskies kept a comfortable lead throughout the third quarter.
Keisling led Cass with 25 points. Hadley and Ryan Bixler each added 15 for the Kings.
“Austin had a big game,” Kitchel said. “Blake [had] a tough two and half quarters, but stepped it up in the last quarter and a half. Bix, with his sized and guard, he does a tremendous job for us on the boards. Victor DeJesus had a really big game for us.”
Hunter Crist led Heights with 26 points, and Grant Weatherford had 17 points.
– Kenny Hetzler
MACONAQUAH 56, WABASH 53
Maconaquah and Wabash battled back and forth for four quarters before the visiting Braves emerged with the 56-53 win.
“Good, aggressive, all-around game,” Mac coach Andy Steele said. “I think we needed a close game. Hopefully that it will catapult us into Oak Hill [tonight] and Northwestern next week.”
K.J. Walton led the Braves with 20 points. Wyatt Hughes followed with 10, Trevor Hagan had eight and Kyle Dinn and Adam Harts chipped in six apiece.
The Braves (2-1) led 13-9 after the first quarter, 21-19 at halftime and 41-39 at the end of the third quarter. The Apaches (2-2) briefly took a lead in the final quarter, but the Braves quickly answered.
“Toward the end of the game, we were up one and Wyatt Hughes, our freshman, got fouled. He stepped up almost like a senior would and knocked down two very critical free throws,” Steele said. “They threw up a Hail Mary at the end and luckily, it didn’t go in.”
Steele tipped his hat to new Wabash coach Paul Wright for the Apaches’ improvement from last season.
“It almost looked like a completely different team compared to last year’s team,” he said. “All the credit to coach Wright and what he’s doing so far.”
SHERIDAN 83, CL. CENTRAL 75
The visiting Blackhawks downed the Bulldogs in Hoosier Heartland Conference play.
Jake Burton led Clinton Central (2-3, 0-1 HHC) with 26 points, six rebounds and five assists. He is averaging 20.4 points per game through five games.
Also for the Bulldogs, Lane McCoy had 21 points and Cole Simmons had eight points and six boards.