LAKEVILLE — LaVille showcased balanced offensive efforts in both games highlighted by strong performances from a pair of Bergers, and the Lancers held off two tenacious New Prairie squads in their Teachers Credit Union Bi-County openers Tuesday night.
The Lancers used a 13-1 stretch midway through the third to finally grab a little breathing room in an eventual 52-38 win in the nightcap, while the Lady Lancers started strong and held off the visitors late for a 58-49 victory in the opener at Dale E. Cox Gymnasium.
Both teams advance to play Triton in semifinal action with the girls playing Thursday in the late game following a 6:30 p.m. contest between Oregon-Davis and Culver, while the boys play Friday in the nightcap after a Glenn-Culver semifinal also scheduled for 6:30.
LaVILLE 52, NEW PRAIRIE 38
The boys game was nip-tuck most of the way through, and the Lancers trailed by one at 16-15 headed into the third quarter, but sophomore guard Blake Berger cued a 13-1 run with four straight points as LaVille grabbed the first double-digit lead of the game, 30-20 with 34 seconds remaining in the frame. The Cougars stayed in it until late, but the home team sank 11 of 17 free throws in the final stanza to hold off New Prairie and advance to the semis at the 48th Annual Bi-County.
It was a solid free throw shooting effort just in the nick of time for a Lancers squad that has been struggling at the line lately, said head coach Michael Edison.
“We just wanted to be aggressive and take it when we could. We haven’t been shooting our free throws well lately, and I thought some guys stepped up tonight.”
The Lancers used better ball control in the second half against a high-pressure New Prairie defense, turning over just three times after the intermission following a 10-turnover first half. LaVille also started crashing the glass in the second half, ultimately out-rebounding the Cougars 15-14 over the final two frames — including seven by senior forward Nicholas Amor — after losing the battle of the boards by a 17-9 margin in the opening periods.
“The turning point was at halftime,” said New Prairie coach Chad Cripe. “We were up two and we played terrible. I don’t think LaVille played particularly well in the first half, and I thought in the second half LaVille came out and played harder. They out-cut us, they out-worked us on both ends of the floor, and they did a good job.”
One critical moment came late in the game as the Cougars rallied back to within eight with 1:16 to go. With 1:12 left to play, Jared Monhaut grabbed a steal at halfcourt to break away for a transition bucket that would have cut the deficit to six, but instead Lancers junior reserve Cameron Gurtner got back on the play and took a charge to nullify the basket and foul out Monhaut, and LaVille closed out the game 6-0 to seal the win.
“Cam Gurtner, we turn the ball over and he takes a huge, huge charge,” said Edison. “That was game-changing right there because I think we’re only up eight right there. They put that in we’re only up six or five, and all the momentum’s going with them. That was a huge charge, and I think Landon Manuel had two or three charges tonight. We just had five or six charges tonight that were big.”
The Lancers were led by senior guard Andrew Hostetler’s 16 points, while Berger finished with 15, and Amor scored 10 with a game-high 12 rebounds. Jeff Haygood finished with seven points and seven rebounds as LaVille moved to 8-3 on the season.
“I’ll list several things that I think were key,” Edison said. “Defensively, we rebounded so much better. Nick Amor had big ones, key ones; Haygood had some key rebounds… Blake Berger broke people down and got to the line. And I was happy with Jeff’s performance at the free throw line. Andrew Hostetler, just a team leader. He hit a big 3-pointer, I think it was his only 3, but it just kind of widened that gap.
I just thought our overall focus was at a high level.”
New Prairie was paced by Matthew Winter’s double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, and C.J. Kowalski also flirted with double-digit offensive production with nine as the Cougars slipped to 6-6.
• LaVILLE 52, NEW PRAIRIE 38
Score by quarters
New Prairie: 4 16 22 38
LaVille: 6 15 30 52
NEW PRAIRIE (38): Zach Rehlander 5, Jasen Webb 5, Dylan Cory 2, Jared Monhaut 3, Matthew Winter 14, C.J. Kowalski 9; Totals: 10 16-21 38.
LaVILLE (52): Cameron Gurtner 0, Blake Berger 15, Landon Manuel 2, Jeff Haygood 7, Andrew Hostetler 16, Alec Baker 2, Nicholas Amor 10.
3-pointers: New Prairie 2 (Rehlander, Monhaut), LaVille 1 (Hostetler); Rebounds: New Prairie 31 (Winter 10), LaVille 24 (Amor 12); Turnovers: New Prairie 13, LaVille 13; Steals: New Prairie 4, LaVille 5 (Amor 2); Assists: New Prairie 7 (Rehlander 2, Webb 2), LaVille 4 (Haygood 2); Fouls (fouled out): New Prairie 25 (Rehlander, Monhaut), LaVille 16 (none).
Records: LaVille 8-3, New Prairie 6-6
NEW PRAIRIE 49
After sitting out the last two Bi-County Tournaments, Katie Berger made up for lost time Tuesday night.
The Lady Lancers senior put up a team-high 16 points to help her team hold off an upset-minded New Prairie squad and advance to Thursday’s late semifinal.
“Kat-o, she loves the Bi-County, she loves basketball,” said LaVille head coach Kevin McCullough. “She played in the Bi-County as a freshman and made it to the finals, but the next two years, one year she was sick and the other year injured and couldn’t play in the Bi-County. So this is a big deal there tonight. Man, she stuck in some big shots for us tonight. That one right at the end of the quarter, we needed that one.”
Berger’s game-high was just one of four double-figure outputs for the home team as Kelsey Gurtner finished with 14, and the Lancers got 11 points apiece from McKenzie Leed and Hannah Herbster, who also tallied an impressive six steals and seven rebounds for LaVille.
“You play these games to get ready for the state tournament,” said McCullough. “Sectional is still our focus, and if somebody comes to scout us they’ll say ‘Gee, they had four kids, who are you going to put the best defender on?’ For sure somebody’s going to say you’ve got to get out there on Katie, so that opens up the inside for us. I see positives.”
Amanda Carbiener contributed four points with three assists, Kyla Coblentz chipped in two and lent the Lancers some hustle on the defensive end, Lynae Hostrawser was steady in the frontcourt, and Paige Hawkins gave her team some quality minutes off the bench in the first half.
“I’m giving props to all those guys,” McCullough said. “Everybody that played in there was a contributor. I’ll give Paige Hawkins some credit. When we had some foul trouble and we needed a guard, she got in there and bailed us out in the first half. Amanda and Lynae didn’t score a lot tonight, but they were in there rebounding and playing defense and playing high post tonight…To me, that was a team effort.”
New Prairie was led by Madison Cody’s 12 points with seven rebounds before she fouled out with 2:17 still left to play, while Mackenzie Behm-Stavely and Jessica Cinal each put up nine for the Cougars, who broke into the win column at Jimtown Saturday but couldn’t get streaky against a LaVille squad that had already handed them a similar 51-65 loss in NSC play back on Dec. 7.
• LaVILLE 58, NEW PRAIRIE 49
Score by quarters
New Prairie: 1 15 27 49
LaVille: 11 27 32 58
NEW PRAIRIE (49): Faythe Bashaw 3, Mackenzie Behm-Stavely 9, Jessica Cinal 9, Madison Cody 12, Alexa Durbin 1, Madeline Durbin 0, Nicole Hynek 2, Brooke Kresca 7, Olivia Kuczmanski 6; Totals: 16 13-21 49.
LaVILLE (58): Kelsey Gurtner 14, Paige Hawkins 0, McKenzie Leed 11, Kyla Coblentz 2, Hannah Herbster 11, Katie Berger 16, Lynae Hostrawser 0, Amanda Carbiener 4; Totals: 19 17-32 58.
3-pointers: New Prairie 4 (Behm-Stavely 2, Bashaw, Cinal), LaVille 3 (Leed 3); Rebounds: New Prairie 28 (Cody 7), LaVille 33 (Herbster 7); Turnovers: New Prairie 23, LaVille 27; Steals: New Prairie 13 (Kuczmanski 4, Kresca 4), LaVille 16 (Herbster 6); Assists: New Prairie 7 (Cinal 2, Kresca 2), LaVille 10 (Carbiener 3); Fouls (fouled out): New Prairie 26 (Behm-Stavely, Cody), LaVille 17 (none).
Records: LaVille 9-7, New Prairie 1-15