DANVILLE — The Salt Fork boys basketball team fought to the wire against St. Anne in Tuesday’s IHSA Class 1A sectional played at Mary Miller Gymnasium on the campus of Danville Area Community College but lost a heartbreaker 53-52.
Salt Fork had the ball with 9.5 seconds left on the right sideline and ran a play where Noah Darr gets the ball from Taylor Kirby and drove to the left side of the basket and gets fouled going to the rim with 1.5 seconds left.
Darr made the first one before the Cardinals called a timeout to ice the shooter. The Cardinals’ plan paid off as Darr’s second free throw hit the back iron and the Cardinals knocked it out of Max Stutsman’s hand and out of bounds Salt Fork ball with 0.3 seconds left on the clock. The Storm with new life calls timeout to set up an out of bounds play.
“We knew St. Anne was going to be on Max (Stutsman), so we tried a miss direction play and get the ball to Ross (Learnard) on the lob,” Salt Fork coach Andrew Johnson said.
The play went as designed but the pass was too high and hard for Learnard to control and the Cardinals escaped.
“I am so proud of this team they left their heart and effort on the floor, what a great group of kids we have and it just was not the way we wanted it to end,” Johnson said.
As the game started, the Cardinals were tough early and led 15-8 with 2:35 left in the first quarter. Salt Fork was in a hole but with a strong effort and a gritty determination, the Storm fought back and was only down three at the end of one quarter 17-14.
The second quarter started as the first quarter did with the Cardinals stretching their defense into 1-3-1 from man to man to squeeze Stutsman. Salt Fork took control of the last part of the quarter as they went on an 8-0 run in the last 3:49 of the second quarter to get back in the game.