DANVILLE — Fast starts and successful 3-point shooting has been the keys to the Danville boys basketball success in the past week.
On Friday night, those were the keys once again, but this time around, it was the Normal Community Ironmen, who started quick, hit 3s and they also ended the game with a 12-2 run.
All of those factors added up to a Normal Community 63-52 win over Danville High in a Big 12 Conference contest on Friday night.
“I guess you could say that we live and die by the 3,’’ said Danville senior guard Kylen Butler. “We needed to find other ways to score, and we did, but it wasn’t enough.’’
The Ironmen (14-6 overall, 6-3 in the Big 12) were an amazing 7-of-12 behind the 3-point arc in the first half as they built a 34-26 halftime lead. Normal Community, which was 9-of-20 behind the arc in the contest, had five different players hit a 3-pointer on Friday night.
“That was the difference,’’ Danville coach Ted Houpt said. “We had shot it well in our last two games.
“Obviously, everyone is much better when you are knocking down the 3-pointers. The impressive part to me was that it was more than one or two guys.’’
The Ironmen’s biggest 3-pointer came with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left as Zach Thompson gave them a 58-52 lead. Normal Community would make 5-of-6 free throws in the final 1:08 to seal the victory.
Just a few minutes earlier, Danville had pulled within 51-50 on a pair of free throws by Butler, who had 16 points in the contest. Houpt called a timeout and the Ironmen proceeded to scored 12 of the game’s final 14 points.
“It looked like a momentum stopper,’’ Houpt said. “But, I could see that our guys were tired and they needed some rest. They knocked down a couple of shots, we throw the ball away twice and they get another 3-pointer — just like that, they had their cushion back.