It wasn’t the banner day that any of the area boys basketball teams had hoped for as each of the teams were bounced from the regional tournaments on Saturday.
In Class 1-A, Triton hosted a great championship matchup which saw Oregon-Davis succumb to Gary 21st Century in a 76-73 final. After the Bobcats took a 19-6 lead in the first quarter, the Cougars stormed back to outscore the Bobcats 50-36 in the second half, including the all-important final three points of the game after O-D tied the game with under two minutes to go.
Core’von Lott led Gary (19-8) in its second straight regional title with 26 points, including 12-14 from the free throw line. DeNadre Gholston added 24 points and 12 boards and Johnell Davis added 16 points.
O-D had Aaron Parker finish with 21 points and 10 rebounds and Jonathon Clark end with 20 points and eight rebounds. Trevor Risner had 13 points and Lance Campbell had 12 points for the Bobcats, which finish at 21-7.
In the morning session, O-D defeated Lakewood Park 66-50 and Gary 21st Century beat Tri-County 69-57. Gary will meet Lafayette Central Catholic in the north semi-state, the Knights defeating North Vermillion and Liberty Christian at Frankfort.
In Class 2-A, both Central Noble and Churubusco were dumped at North Judson while Southwood was knocked out at Lapel. Central Noble (14-13), the Westview sectional champion, saw its 14-year void in a regional a short one in a 41-38 loss to Gary Roosevelt. Busco (17-9), which came out of the Woodlan sectional on top, fell short of eventual champion Marquette Catholic 75-64. The Blazers would top the Panthers 67-65 to earn the right to play Frankton next week. Frankton defeated Southwood (21-5) by a 65-61 count then beat Covington 54-52 to move on.
In Class 3-A, the wild ride for Fairfield ended with a thud Saturday morning in a 66-57 loss to eventual champion Fort Wayne Luers at the Marion Regional. The Falcons, in the 3-A regional for the first time, held Luers without a field goal in the final quarter, but the Knights were 19-26 from the free throw line in the final quarter and 23-33 overall. JJ Foster paced Luers with 21 points.
The Falcons wrap up at 13-13 overall, led by Cordell Hofer’s 21 points while Shandon Miller had 13 points and 17 rebounds, Miller outrebounding Luers himself by four. Brady Willard also had 13 points. Luke Stephens, who was the pulse of the upset of No. 2 NorthWood in the sectional, had just eight points Saturday after scoring 51 points in the sectional wins and averaging 16.8 points per game during the season.
Luers (19-7) came back to defeat Tipton 54-50 in the final. The Blue Devils made the final after ending New Haven’s season in a 44-41 result in second semi-final. The Knights will get Twin Lakes in the northern semi-state after the Indians upset No. 1 Culver Academy 39-38 and then held off Griffith 69-64.
In Class 4-A, South Bend Adams (21-5) and Warsaw (18-10) could not figure out Merrillville as the Pirates crushed the Eagles 75-49 and escaped Kyle Mangas and the Tigers 50-46 in the nightcap. Merrillville (21-7) advances to its first semi-state since 1995 and is seeking its first-ever title.
The Pirates will meet Fort Wayne North (26-2), the Legends alive after bouncing Homestead 57-38 then needing overtime to get past Carmel 52-49.