COLUMBUS – Scoring lulls hindered Shelbyville all season.
Being shutout for nearly five minutes to start the third quarter Friday once again put the Golden Bears in chase mode. And time ran out on their season.
Whiteland built a double-digit lead at the pivotal moment of the third quarter then hit just enough free throws in the game’s final minute to secure a 47-45 victory over Shelbyville in a Class 4A, Sectional 14 semifinal game at Columbus North High School.
“Our boys fought all the way to the end,” said Shelbyville head coach John Hartnett Jr. “We got down by 10 points and eventually fought all the way back and had a chance to shoot the last shot and go up by one if we hit the big 3.”
Ollie Sandman’s sixth three-pointer of his record-setting career got Shelbyville within 45-44 with 53 seconds left.
Austin Willoughby hit one of two free throws to give the Warriors a 46-44 lead but put the ball back in Sandman’s hands. The senior searched and searched for an open look before Hartnett called timeout with 18.7 seconds to go.
Caden Claxton got an open look at a 3-pointer but the ball caromed high off the rim and over the backboard.
Shelbyville (10-14) immediately fouled Gavin Stubbe, who hit one of two free throws for a 3-point lead and 4.5 seconds on the clock.
Whiteland quickly fouled Sandman (main photo) before he could get momentum up court. Sandman made the first free throw then launched the ball at the front of the rim on his second attempt for a potential rebound and score as time expired. Instead, the ball ricocheted past him and Whiteland’s Wyatt McLaughlin gathered it in and ran out the clock.
Sandman finished with a game-high 22 points that pushed him past Brian Asher (1,024 points) and Tony Martin (1,028) for eighth all-time in Golden Bear history at 1,036 points.
Sandman also holds the program record for career made 3s at 199.
McLaughlin, who had 29 points in Whiteland’s Dec. 10 victory at Garrett Gymnasium in Shelbyville, was ineffective Friday after suffering an ankle injury earlier in the week.
Willoughby carried the Warriors (10-14) early, scoring 10 first-half points that helped Whiteland take a 22-19 lead into halftime.
A 7-0 run sparked by Jazz Banwait’s 3 extended the Warriors’ lead to 29-19.
“It’s always usually a quarter that beats us and that’s what it has been the past four to five games,” said Hartnett. “We have a bad stretch or a bad third quarter coming out and then we always have to play catch up or fight back in it. We made a couple of bonehead defensive mistakes and then we had some turnovers that hurt us. It’s all those little things that add up at the end.”
A Sandman 3 and scores by Damon Badgley and Jackson Parker pulled Shelbyville within 32-26 after three quarters.
D.J. Helm hit a 3 to open the fourth-quarter scoring and Whiteland kept hitting tough shots to keep the Golden Bears at bay.
Banwait scored four straight points and Whiteland led 43-36 with 2:13 left in the quarter.
The Warriors squandered several victories throughout the season with sub 60% shooting from the free-throw line. But Ethan Edwards calmly sank a pair of free throws with 1:22 left for a 45-39 lead.
Luke Brinkman sank a pair of free throws for Shelbyville ahead of Sandman’s final 3 that cut the lead to 45-44.
Willoughby led Whiteland with 14 points. Banwait had 10 points and three assists. Brayden Roy grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
No other Golden Bear scored in double digits Friday. Badgley finished with nine points.
“Losing some of these guys, Jackson Parker, Ollie Sandman, Aidan Asher, Riley Fortune, they mean so much to our program,” said Hartnett. “They have gone through our program all the way from the ground up and left a mark on this program. They have it steered in the right direction. I am very proud of them. I am proud of all the young guys that stepped up this year. This is something Shelbyville should be proud of.”
Whiteland returns to Columbus North tonight to face the host Bull Dogs (16-8), a 60-54 overtime winner over Columbus East (2-20) in Friday’s second semifinal game.
Steve Bush photos
Whiteland 47, Shelbyville 45
WH – Helm 1-2 0-0 3, Banwait 3-9 2-3 10, McLaughlin 0-2 0-0 0, Roy 3-8 0-1 6, Willoughby 6-8 2-8 14, Edwards 1-3 2-2 5, Stubbe 2-6 2-4 6, Perkins 1-2 0-0 3, Gillespie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-40 8-18 47.
SH – Sandman 7-17 2-5 22, Brinkman 0-2 4-5 4, Parker 2-4 0-0 4, Claxton 0-8 2-2 2, Lambert 1-3 0-0 2, Badgley 4-8 0-0 9, Asher 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 15-44 8-11 45.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
WH (10-14) 6 16 10 15 -- 47
SH (10-14) 4 15 7 19 -- 45
Three-point field goals: WH 5-15 (Helm 1-1, Banwait 2-6, McLaughlin 0-1, Willoughby 0-1, Edwards 1-3, Stubbe 0-2, Perkins 1-1), SH 7-20 (Sandman 6-11, Brinkman 0-1, Claxton 0-4, Badgley 1-4). Rebounds: WH 32 (Helm 2, Banwait 1, McLaughlin 2, Roy 14, Willoughby 3, Edwards 4, Stubbe 4, Perkins 2), SH 19 (Sandman 3, Brinkman 5, Parker 3, Claxton 2, Lambert 3, Badgley 1, Asher 2). Assists: WH 11 (Helm 1, Banwait 3, Roy 2, Willoughby 1, Edwards 1, Stubbe 2, Perkins 1), SH 7 (Brinkman 3, Parker 1, Asher 3). Steals: WH 4 (Helm 1, Roy 1, Willoughby 2), SH 4 (Sandman 2, Brinkman 2). Blocks: WH 3 (Helm 2, Willoughby 1), SH 2 (Parker 2). Total fouls: WH 16, SH 16. Turnovers: WH 13, SH 9.
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