Kam Clark looks to pass in a 63-60 loss against Springfield Lanphier in regional semifinal play at Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin.
By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion Braves fell to Springfield Lanphier 63-60 last week in regional semifinal action. The Braves were led by Lyncoln Koester and Ethan Hamrick who both had 14 points.
At the end of the first quarter, the Braves trailed 21-9. The Braves battled back to within seven points in the third quarter when Ethan Hamrick found Brayden Trimble for a layup to make the score 31-24.
The Lions then answered back when Cam Kincaid found Tye Banks for a layup to put the Lions up 33-24. The Braves went on a 6-2 win that included three-pointers from Hamrick and Koester to make the score 35-31. The Lions finished the quarter ahead 36-31.
Late in the third quarter the Lions built a nine point lead after Banks made a putback layup to make the score 50-41. Koester nailed a three-pointer with seconds left in the quarter to make the score 50-44.
Koester picked up right where he left off in the fourth quarter. Trimble found Koester open for a three-point basket to cut the Lions’ lead to 50-47. On the next possession Ethan Hamrick found Carson Cuddy for a dunk to make the score 50-49.
The Braves kept within one till midway through the fourth quarter. The Lions scored six unanswered points behind a Kincaid layup and Banks layup along with a JaiQuan Holman pair of free-throws to give them a 60-53 lead.
The Braves regained their momentum when Cuddy made a block on the defensive end. The ball went to Hamrick who swung it back to Cuddy who made his layup and was fouled. Cuddy missed the free-throw, but Trimble secured the offensive rebound and found Koester open for a three-pointer to narrow the Lions’ lead to 60-58.
Hamrick then made a steal on the defensive end and then drove to the basket and made a layup to tie the game at 60-60. The Lions went into a stall and called timeout with 9.5 seconds left. The ball found Holman who nailed a three-pointer off the backboard to beat the buzzer and gave Lanphier a 63-60 win.
We didn’t quit,” Head coach Dale Schuring said. “And it’s been that way all year long. These kids just don’t quit. They give everything they got and they find a way to make plays and give themselves a chance at the end and you can’t ask for much more than that.”
Mt. Zion finished the season with an overall record of 21-10 and a conference record of 6-6. Coach Schuring said that this season exceeded expectations when asked to describe it.
“I don’t think anybody picked us to win 20 games or more,” Coach Schuring said. “I just think we got a whole lot better a whole lot faster than I thought we would. The success of a season is not always based upon wins and losses which obviously we can say this year it was but just just the overall turnaround and the way these kids battled through everything and gave themselves chances.”
The Braves graduate Hamrick, Jack Driscoll, Mathias Adams, Ryan Clark and John Baumann. The Braves retain Trimble, Koester, Cuddy, Kam Clark, Nathan Hart, Sam Driscoll and Grant McAtee.
“In the locker room it was more about if you’re a senior and you’re done thanks for being here and fighting through three really difficult years, and then having success this year,” Coach Schuring said. And for the underclassmen, you got to get better because we’ve gone from a team that no one paid any attention to a team that teams might start to pay attention to so you got to be ready for that.”