LAKEVILLE — LaVille boys basketball head coach Michael Edison’s face lit up at the mention of Codee Kimbel’s Senior Night crunch-time play Friday.
After all, the 6-foot-3 senior forward scored six of the Lancers’ game-ending eight unanswered points, highlighted by a pair of go-ahead free throws following an offensive rebound off a missed LaVille charity shot with 1:39 to play, and the Lancers collected a 45-39 Northern State Conference win over Jimtown at Dale E. Cox Gymnasium.
“(Kimbel) had a big game,” Edison, whose team plays Jimtown again in Class 2A Sectional 35 first-round action Tuesday, said. “It was great to see that on Senior Night. He hit big shots, had some big rebounds, big free throws; he came through when we needed him.”
With the victory, the Lancers, paced by sophomore Nick Amor’s 15 points and nine boards and Kimbel’s 14 points, four assists and three steals, improved to 11-9 and clinched the program’s first winning season since the 1992-93 campaign.
“That’s a big deal to our players, and it is an accomplishment,” Edison said of the winning season. “It’s a step in the right direction, but our players have this competitiveness that they’re not just going to be satisfied; they want to do even more. I’m real proud of our kids. This is a goal they had to have a winning season, and we finished higher in the conference, too.”
Junior forward Justin Baker also delivered, knocking a missed LaVille free throw off of a Jimtown player and out of bounds late in the fourth quarter. Baker then inbounded to Kimbel in the paint for a basket and foul to put the Lancers up 43-39 with 34 seconds left in the game against the deliberate Jimmies.
“That was huge,” Edison said of Baker’s play. “There were a couple of times where you feel like the tide could turn.
“People think, ‘Oh, Jimtown’s just stalling,’” Edison said. “What they’re really doing is looking for that great shot. I do think (Jimtown head coach Randy DeShone) is one of the best coaches in the area. He gets the most out of his players, and I have a lot of respect for him. I know he’ll have his team ready for the sectional.”
And Friday’s game certainly featured its share of swings with the Lancers building double-digit leads during each half only to see the Jimmies fire back.
Jimtown trailed 34-27 heading into the fourth frame, but junior guard Justin Brown drilled back-to-back triples to chip the Jimmies’ deficit to a single point.
The Jimmies missed three straight opportunities to capture their first lead of the game before DJ Washington sank a couple of free tosses to give Jimtown a 35-34 edge with 4:52 left in the game.
“Justin Brown, defensively and offensively, played one of his best games of the season,” DeShone said. “Justin made some big shots and big plays on defense.”
However, the Lancers, who matched Jimtown’s patience much of the evening, reclaimed the lead immediately with junior guard Jordyn Williams’ conventional 3-point play.
“We had some stretches where we didn’t play real well,” Edison said. “But we knocked down some shots when we needed to.”
After after the Jimmies grabbed a 39-37 edge on Brian Hosinski’s transition bucket from Max Pollock at the 1:49 mark, the Lancers responded with a free throw from Williams and Kimbel’s offensive board and two free tosses to forge ahead for good.
“LaVille, obviously, is very well coached,” DeShone said. “We told our guys that they would find our weakest point, and they did, and they were going to attack it. They made plays down the stretch and we didn’t.”
Williams finished with three assists for LaVille, and sophomore guard Andrew Hostetler collected three steals.
Brown scored a game-high 16 points for Jimtown. Pollock claimed five steals, and Washington finished with four assists.
• LaVILLE 45,
Score by quarters
Jimtown: 7 17 27 39
LaVille: 10 23 34 45
JIMTOWN (39): Alex Brown 0 0-0 0, Max Pollock 2 2-3 7, Corleone Desimone 0 0-0 0, DJ Washington 2 3-4 8, Justin Brown 6 1-1 16, Brae Beadles 0 4-4 4, Brandon Abel 1 0-0 2, August Farwig 0 0-0 0, Brian Hosinski 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 12 10-12 39.
LaVILLE (45): Trenton Stout 1 0-0 3, Jordyn Williams 2 4-5 8, Drew Dutoi 0 0-0 0, Landon Manuel 0 0-0 0, Codee Kimbel 5 4-6 14, Andrew Hostetler 1 0-0 3, Nick Amor 6 3-4 15, Justin Baker 1 0-1 2. TOTALS: 16 11-16 45.
3-point goals: Jimtown 5 (J. Brown 3, Pollock, Washington), LaVille 2 (Stout, Hostetler); Turnovers: Jimtown 18, LaVille 17; Rebounds: Jimtown 13 (Beadles 5), LaVille 22 (Amor 9); Assists: Jimtown 11 (Washington 4), LaVille 10 (Kimbel 4); Steals: Jimtown 8 (Pollock 5), LaVille 7 (Hostetler 3); Fouls (fouled out): Jimtown 19 (Hosinski), LaVille 14 (none); Records: Jimtown 9-11 (2-5 NSC), LaVille 11-9 (4-3 NSC).