Andrean survives Plymouth experience
BY Mark Smith email@example.com March 12, 2013 12:12PM
ANDREAN (22-3) 14 - 9 - 17 - 11 = 19 = 70
PLYMOUTH (21-4) 13 - 9 - 11 - 18 = 9 = 60
3-10-13, Plymouth (3A) Regional championship
ANDREAN (70) Nick Davidson 5-6-18, Sam Toporski 0-0-0, Skyler Moss 9-1-20, Collin Wojcik 5-3-17, DJ Gonzales 1-3-5, JJ Bosak 0-0-0, Danny Keilman 1-0-3, Matt Ruberry 0-0-0, Nick Podkul 2-2-7, Ben Davidson 0-0-0. TOTALS: 23 (15-20) 70.
PLYMOUTH (60) Joe Knapp 8-4-22, David Lee 5-1-11, Mack Mercer 7-2-18, Tom Felke 1-0-3, Ike Kastner 0-4-4, Matt Flynn 1-0-2, Trent Briles 0-0-0, Gabe Vervynckt 0-0-0, Kyser McCrammer 0-0-0.
TOTALS: 22 (11-15) 60.
FREE THROWS: ANDREAN (15-20, 75%) Davidson 6-7, Moss 1-3, Wojcik 3-4, Gonzalez 3-4, Podkul 2-2; PLYMOUTH (11-15, 73.3%) Knapp 4-6, Mercer 2-2, Lee 1-1, Kastner 4-6.
REBOUNDS: ANDREAN (22) Moss 6, Davidson 4, Podkul 4, Wojcik 2, Keilman 2, Ruberry 2, Gonzalez, Toporski, PLYMOUTH (20) Mercer 8, Kastner 6, McCrammer 3, Lee 2, Vervynckt.
ASSISTS: ANDREAN (13) Davidson 10, Gonzalez 2. Wojcik; PLYMOUTH (10) Lee 2, Mercer 2, McCrammer 2.
BLOCKED SHOTS: ANDREAN (3) Moss 2, Davidson; PLYMOUTH (11) Mercer 10, Felke.
STEALS: ANDREAN (3) Gonzales 2, Davidson; PLYMOUTH (16) Lee 3, Knapp, Felke, Flynn.
FOULED OUT: ANDREAN (1) Danny Keilman (OT) 2:51 left; PLYMOUTH (OT) 2:35.
3-GOALS: ANDREAN (9) Collin Wojcik 4, Nick Davidson 2, Skyler Moss, Danny Keilman, Nick Podkul; PLYMOUTH (5) Mack Mercer 2, Joe Knapp 2, Tom Felke.
LEW WALLACE (14-8) 8 - 15 - 14 - 10 == 56
ANDREAN (21-3) 13 - 20 - 16 - 22 == 71
3-10-13, Plymouth (3A) Regional quarterfinal
LW (56) Trevor Boddie 5-0-14, Keonte Bridges 2-0-5,, Charles Cooper 9-7-26, Devon Harris 1-2-4, Ulzana Sullivan 3-0-7, Richard Wash 0-0-0, Chris Prater 0-0-0, Cortez Arrington 0-0-0. TOTALS: 20 (9-16) 56.
ANDREAN (71) Nick Davidson 5-2-12, Sam Toporski 1-2-4, Skyler Moss 8-8-25, Collin Wojcik 5-0-14, DJ Gonzales 2-1-5, JJ Bosak 1-1-3, Danny Keilman 1-0-2, Ramon Guerrero 1-2-4, Matt Ruberry 0-0-0, Nick Podkul 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25 (16-27) 71.
FREE THROWS: LW (9-16, 56.2%) Cooper 7-14, Harris 2-2; ANDREAN (16-27, 59.2%) Davidson 2-2, Toporski 2-4, Moss 8-14, Bosak 1-2, Gonzalez 1-3, Guerrero 2-2.
REBOUNDS: LW (27) Cooper 14, Bridges 5, Boddie 2, Harris 4, Wash, Arrington; ANDREAN (40) Moss 10, Davidson 9, Toporski 5, Wojcik 5, Guerrero 5, Gonzalez 3, Keilman 2, Podkul.
ASSISTS: LW (8) Harris 3, Boddie 2, Bridges, Cooper, Sullivan; ANDREAN (13) Gonzalez 4, Wojcik 3, Davidson 2, Moss 2, Podkul 2.
STEALS: LW (13) Sullivan 5, Harris 4, Cooper, Wash, Bridges, Boddie; ANDREAN (6) Davidson 3, Toporski, Wojcik, Rubbery.
FOULED OUT: LW (1) Devon Harris (4th Q) 1:00.
3-GOALS: LW (7) Trevor Boddie 4, Keonte Bridges, Ulzana Sullivan, Charles Cooper; ANDREAN (5) Collin Wojcik 4, Skyler Moss.
PLYMOUTH (3A) Regional
Plymouth 46, West Lafayette 44
ANDREAN 71, Lew Wallace 56
ANDREAN 70, Plymouth 60 (OT) title
Blackford (3A) Regional
(Fort Wayne) Concordia 65 Hamilton Heights 49
Norwell 77 Tippecanoe Valley 65
(Fort Wayne) Concordia 67 Norwell 58 (title)
Washington (3A) Regional
Greensburg 82 (Evansville) Bosse 65
Brownstown Central 49 (Vincennes) Lincoln 35
Greensburg 65 Brownstown Central 54 (title)
Greencastle (3A) Regional
Mount Vernon (Fortville) 56 Danville 41
Frankfort 55 Edgewood 49
Mount Vernon (Fortville) 70 Frankfort 49 (title)
CLASS 4A Semi-State
No. 1 Carmel (23-2) vs. MERRILLVILLE (22-3)
No. 13 Jeffersonville (24-3) vs. No. 7 Cathedral (24-5)
No. 7 Concordia Lutheran (24-3) vs No. 3 ANDREAN (22-3)
No. 2 Greensburg (24-1) vs. No. 1 Mt. Vernon (24-1)
No. 2 Tipton (25-2) vs. No. 7 Bowman Academy (16-9)
No. 10 Linton-Stockton (23-3) vs. Speedway (21-4)
No. 6 Lafayette Catholic (18-8) vs. No. 10 Triton (19-5)
No. 10 Borden (22-3) vs. University (15-11
Updated: March 12, 2013 12:12PM
PLYMOUTH — It’s a shame more people can’t see these basketball state tournament games. A lot of people think this kind of game doesn’t exist in Indiana any more.
It was loud. It was long. Everybody had a lot of fans there. Everybody hit big shots. Everybody stayed till the end. And the better team won.
Andrean wasn’t much better, but it was better. And the 59ers finally survived the Plymouth Class 3A Regional, topping the host school 70-60 in overtime in front of a sellout crowd in Marshall County.
“When you’re playing, you try to zone it out,” said Andrean’s Nick Davidson, who had 10 assists including six in the second half and two in overtime in the championship game. “But when you first come running out on the floor and you see everybody standing and clapping, you realize, this is Indiana basketball.”
The 59ers (22-3) were the better team and they should have won. But since class sports began (1997), no Northwest Indiana team had defeated Plymouth at Plymouth to win the 3A regional title.
Coach Carson Cunningham, the old 59er who stressed his way through this two-hour Marshall County showcase, must have felt like he had taken a time machine back to the good old days. He didn’t want to admit it but it showed on his face.
“Obviously,” he said, “you are excited to play in a place like this, in a game like this. And winning it. It’s great for the kids. So many played so well. Nick (Davidson), Collin Wojcik, Skyler Moss, DJ Gonzalez. Everybody played well.”
If there was a game-changer it was Davidson.
Andrean’s 6-foot-4 post player Skyler Moss, who scored 25 in the 71-56 semifinal win over Lew Wallace eight hours earlier Saturday, couldn’t get the ball up past Plymouth’s 6-foot-9 forward Mack Mercer, who blocked six shots in the first half and drew no fouls.
So, after halftime, the 59ers changed strategy.
“They were running under the screens,” said Davidson, the future Valparaiso University player who scored 10 in the third quarter. “The first shot that I hit to open up the second half (and tie the game 26-26). That gave me a lot of confidence. It was a deep 3. It was one of those 50-50 shots — it looks good, but you never know if it’s going to go in or not. When that went in, it gave me confidence to keep it up.
“I was able to come off screens and read the defense. Either pull up or hit the open man for a jumper.”
Cunningham confirmed the Niners did change the offensive focus after halftime.
“We ran a high ball-screen,” said the 59ers all-state star of the 1990s. “We must have run it 100 times in the second half. Nick’s favorite player is Aaron Craft (of Ohio State) and he watched him beat IU running high ball screens.”
The first half was an ebb and flow between the taller 59ers (all five starters at least 6-foot-4) trying to play an inside-outside game featuring Moss and the smaller Plymouth boys scrambling defensively, diving on the floor repeatedly and funneling everything towards Mercer, their to scorer and defender.
All this played out in front of a sea of red-shirted fans in the 40-year-old Marshall County home court of the 12-time regional champion Pilgrims.
But using Davidson’s mid-range jumpers and a quicker counter-attack, the third ranked Niners built up an 11-point lead at 47-36 with 4:12 left in the game.
But it wasn’t over yet. Led by six-foot senior guards David Lee and Joe Knapp, the home team scored eight in a row. Andrean folks thought some fouls should have been called but Plymouth fans outnumbered the 59er followers about 5-1 and the situation got louder and louder.
When DJ Gonzalez hit two free throws, Andrean led 51-46 with 29 seconds to go.
But Lee drove the lane and scored with 21 seconds to go. Andrean spread the floor and Gonzalez drew Mercer to him and bounce passed to Moss under the basket.
Mercer whirled and stepped in and the collision was called an offensive foul by Moss with nine seconds left.
Plymouth called time out and set up a cross court pass to Knapp, whose second three-point basket of the game tied the game with one second to play.
As the 59ers walked back to the bench, the bright old Plymouth gym was in an uproar. All of Plymouth was celebrating and the game was tied.
When asked what he thought at that moment, Moss recalled that he may have said a word or two that his Catholic instructors at Andrean would not appreciate.
“I just thought we had to get back and play ‘D’ and try to win,” he said with a smile. “Stay together as a team. That’s all that matters.”
Moss may have had six shots blocked in the game, but, after scoring just three baskets in the first three quarters, the 59er center finished with 20 points.
The senior (one of nine on the playoff roster) suggested he wasn’t born yesterday, and he understood that playing Plymouth on Plymouth’s home floor would not be a situation where the 59ers would get any lucky breaks.
“I was upset that I wasn’t getting any calls,” he admitted. “I’m the kind of person who always gets upset at things like that. But I just tried not to think about that. He’s 6-foot-9. I’m 6-foot-4. I knew I wasn’t going to get any calls.”
In overtime, Andrean slowly pulled away in the final moments. Depth and experience finally won out after the 59ers had lost at the regionals three years in a row.
Now they travel to Huntington North Saturday to face Concordia Lutheran (23-4), the champions of Fort Wayne’s famed Summit Athletic Conference.
Andrean is supposed to be there. They were supposed to get this far this season. They always think that way.
This is a school that’s won three state softball titles, three state baseball titles and the 2004 state football title. But this is Indiana and Andrean has never won a state basketball championship.
“You always think you’re the better team,” said Moss. “But it’s about playing as a team, just staying together to beat the good teams. That’s what we hope to do the next two weeks. This next game is big.”
REGIONAL NOTES: Andrean dominated Lew Wallace in the regional semifinals 71-56 as Skyler Moss scored 25 and grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Niners committed 20 turnovers but slowed Wallace, which averaged 77 points a game.
The Hornets’ Charles Cooper scored 26 but LW fired up some bad shots once they fell behind and there was never a time in the second half when you thought Andrean would not win.
The 59ers, who topped LW 78-64 during the regular season, led by 10 or more throughout the final quarter and rested all their starters in front of a small semifinal crowd.
Plymouth’s 6-foot-9 left-handed junior Mack Mercer creates interesting problems because he’s a center in name only.
Mercer faces the basket and puts it on the floor and does dribble-spins around defenders.
He was 2-for-5 on three-point shots against Andrean and is clearly a Division I prospect.
Mercer had been in foul trouble in the Plymouth Sectional but made a lot of clean blocks versus the 59ers.
“A lot,” but not all.
“It happens,” said Davidson later. “You’ve just got to keep battling. You can’t (referee) the game. You’ve got to just do what you can do and let the rest take care of itself.”
On paper, Fort Wayne Concordia (23-4) is very similar to Andrean, which starts five 6-foot-4 seniors. Concordia is led by 6-foot-5 seniors Brian Gremaux, Marq Rogers and Thomas Starks, all of whom scored in double figures last season.
Neither Andrean nor Concordia has lost to a 3A school this season.