Edgewood Outlasts Owen Valley To Win Back-To-Back 3A Sectional Titles, 40-38
For the third consecutive season, coach Chad Smith’s Owen Valley Patriots fell in the Class 3A Sectional 28 championship game, and for the second year in a row the title loss came at the hands of the Western Indiana Conference (WIC) rival Edgewood Mustangs.
The Patriots were poised for the Saturday night showdown against the Mustangs, winners of their previous nine straight. OV had handily defeated fellow WIC foe Brown County on Friday, 56-44, led by sophomore forward Ethan Daffron who came off of the bench to pour in a career-high 18 points.
“It was really a great effort all the way around from our guys. (Daffron) just keeps getting better and better. You watch him play and sometimes it’s not the prettiest, but he has arms that reach forever and he jumps so well – if you get him the ball around the basket, he finds a way to get it in,” coach Smith said. “He has improved so much... he just plays his guts out and I’m really proud of him.”
OV opened the contest with hot shooting in the first quarter, taking an early 16-13 lead with a pair of threes each from Evan Wood and Cameron King, along with a basket each from Nolan King and Josh Parker.
The Patriots pushed the lead to four at the half, 29-25, thanks to seven second quarter points from Daffron, and two more from Nolan and Cam King, and Parker.
Third quarter action found OV struggling to score, producing just eight points, but still maintaining a three-point lead, 37-34, heading into the final frame. The Patriots received another three from Wood and baskets from Cam King and Parker in the third.
A 19-point fourth quarter helped punch the Patriots’ ticket into Saturday’s championship contest. Daffron tacked on another 11 in the fourth to go along with four form Parker, three from Dillan Hege and a Nolan King free throw.
“We worked to get our depth all year long, we played those guys and we gave minutes to those young guys who didn’t have varsity experience,” coach Smith said. “I’m a firm believer in having lots of threats out on the basketball court and a one-man show doesn’t really go very far. It can be a different guy every time out.”
Emotions ran high Saturday night from warm-ups to the postgame reaction in a highly competitive and physically demanding match-up. Defensive pressure by both the Patriots and Mustangs kept the game scoreless until the 5:20 mark of the first quarter when OV took an early 4-0 lead before Edgewood began to find Trevor Selburg.
“It was a great basketball game. You just want to give yourself a chance at the end in a game like this, a game that’s going to be a one-possession game and we did that, so we have to be proud and hang our heads high,” coach Smith said. “But it’s tough for 16-year-old kids to do that, they’re devastated and that tells me it really meant something to them.”
Owen Valley tallied four from Parker and a three from Cam King, while Evan Wood scored his only two points on the night and Daffron knocked down a free throw, but Selburg would tally eight of his own before a Mike Bowman bucket tied the game at 10-10 after one.
Nolan King got going in the second for the Patriots, scoring six of his 13 points on the night, while Daffron added four more. However, the Mustangs managed to find a slight edge at the half, up 22-20 thanks to another five from Selburg, two from Bowman and five from Clayton Settle.
The defensive battle continued after the half with a new focus on either end of the court as both teams battled to produce just five points each in the frame. OV received all five from Nolan King, while a three from Settle and a pair of Derek Driver free throws kept Edgewood in front, 27-25.
Coach Smith knew the contest would come down to its final possession after both teams traded buckets in the fourth. Parker tallied six in the fourth and his teammates found him on the final play of the game, but a defensive collapse after the OV senior drove the lane forced a pass out to Evan Wood. The sophomore shot faked and drove to take a running jumper near the lane, but the ball came off of the rim and into the waiting arms of Selburg.
“(The game plan) was to get it to Josh and we did, he got doubleteamed and did the right move, he made the team play and kicked it out to one of our best shooters. From where I was, it really looked good – we’ll take Evan taking that shot all day, every day. We knew it was going to come down to onepossession even when they got up eight on us. We weren’t going to go away. It’s tough to be on the wrong end of this for the third time in a row, but the bottom line is that we’re trending in the right direction.
Hats off to them, they played a great game and so did we, this was a classic.”
OV says goodbye to seniors Parker and Austin Hunter, but coach Smith is excited for the Patriots’ future, returning several battle-tested underclassmen.
“I’m really proud of all of our guys. Nolan King, he was just a leader, played his guts out and that has to be the best game he’s ever played,” coach Smith noted. “It’s hard to console these guys, they’re awfully upset, but our future is bright. A freshman, a couple sophomores and a junior carried a lot of the load tonight. No doubt we’ll miss Josh and Austin, that’s for sure, but our future is bright. Hopefully we can do the same thing next year, except get on the right side of the scoreboard.”
|Brown County - 44|
|Total 3 15||11-16||21||44|
|OV (11-11) 16 13||8||19||56|
|BC (6-16) 13 12||9||10||44|
|Owen Valley - 38|
|Total 3 15||5-6||16||38|
|Edgewood - 40|
|Total 3 13||12-16||15||40|
|OV (11-12) 10 10||5||13||38|
|EHS (15-8) 10 12||5||13||40|
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