Boys basketball: Andrean regroups with flawless OT to advance to semistate
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent March 9, 2013 11:16PM
Updated: April 11, 2013 7:12AM
PLYMOUTH — While Plymouth was busy celebrating the 3-pointer that tied the game at 51 and forced overtime, Andrean simply went right back to work.
What followed was a perfect overtime session, leading the 59ers to a 70-60 win over Plymouth (21-4) and the program’s first appearance in the semistate round since 2000.
“They just stuck together, I couldn’t be happier for them,” Andrean (22-3) coach Carson Cunningham said while wiping the remaining sweat from his forehead. “It was all about the guys on our team; they just believed in each other and kept at it.”
The 59ers went 5-for-5 from the floor and 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the extra session. The game turned when Plymouth big man Mack Mercer fouled out early in overtime. After his departure, Andrean center Skyler Moss scored six straight points on three easy layups.
“(Mercer) was a big presence inside,” said Moss, who finished with a game-high 20 points.
“He’s a good shot-blocker and he clogged up the paint. When he went out, it gave me the room to make some moves.”
“We were able to beat their press, find Moss open and they didn’t really have an answer without (Mercer),” said Andrean guard Nick Davidson, who had 18 points of his own in the contest.
Andrean had been to regionals six times since a state appearance in 2000, including two defeats in the regional championship game. In the third quarter, it appeared the 59ers would coast to the semistate round, as Nick Davidson scored 10 points and Andrean jumped out to a 40-33 lead.
“Nick’s favorite player is Aaron Craft, and he watched Craft beat IU by running high ball screens,” Cunningham explained.
“We ran high ball screens about 150 times and I kept telling that Davidson that he was Aaron Craft tonight — and he was.”
Andrean led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter before Plymouth narrowed the gap to three in the final minute before Joe Knapp’s triple at the end of regulation deadlocked the game at 51.
“We all said that they were going to make a run,” said Davidson. “We just kept our composure and focused on the now instead of the past.”
The win extended the careers of the nine seniors on the Andrean roster, including Davidson.
“It was just a great honor to play in a game like this,” said Davidson. “To lose in regionals three times was tough. But we just kept battling in every practice. We wanted to show that we deserved a regional championship.”