BY GREG FLINT
CAYUGA, Ind. —
For three quarters, the boys’ basketball matchup between the North Vermillion Falcons and the visiting Attica Red Ramblers was anybody’s game to win.
The fourth period, however, was another story entirely as the visitors blew open a tight game by hitting from beyond the arc to pull away for a 57-31 victory.
For Falcon head coach Sam Karr, the game opened exactly as he hoped it would, with his team executing their game plan to perfection — at least on the defensive end.
“We held them to, what, 17 points in that first half,” asked Karr. “That’s good defense. And when we had the ball, we moved it around and looked for good shots. We got some, but unfortunately we missed a lot of easy ones.”
Doing as Karr asked, North Vermillion worked the ball around and got a lay-up by Devon Sams to open the game. Attica countered with an “and-one” by Bryce Cooper, but Brayden Woodard negated it with a trey of his own.
At the end of the first quarter, it was 7-7. Attica finally found a way inside as the second period started as Keetin Arnold got a lay-up. Brady Sheridan followed with two baskets surrounding a pair of free throws by Kenny Little and suddenly the Ramblers were up 15-8.
Attica would get one more basket in the half, but Braeden Hollowell hit a pair of threes for North Vermillion and Jacob Earl added a lay-up to make the score 17-16 at the half.
“It took us a while to get going,” said Attica head coach Chuck Hutchins. “Unlike the two games in the holiday tournament, our energy just wasn’t there early in this one.”
The third quarter saw the lead go back and forth, as both teams aggressively went to the basket, got fouled and made free throws.
North Vermillion took its final lead of the night on a basket by Cody Wright that made the score 25-24, but Attica finished the quarter on a 10-4 run to lead 34-29.
It was at that point that the game got away from the Falcons.
The Ramblers opened the fourth quarter with Cooper, Little and Austin Smyth hitting three-pointers along with another basket by Cooper to turn a five-point lead into a 16-point lead and put the game out of reach.
Attica would score four more points to lead 49-29 when Karr said he saw enough and pulled his starters to send in his reserves.
Asked what caused the Attica explosion, Karr said, “Youth happened and Attica happened. You’ve got to give Attica credit for part of this.
“Our young guys saw them hit those threes and you could see them drop their heads. We just don’t have enough experience to handle this yet, so I put in our JV guys to see what would happen.”
He said he thought his bench players did well, moving the ball and playing defense. Freshman Corey Davis got the lone Falcon points in final quarter when he hit a jumper with 33 seconds left in the game.
Hutchins said his team finally got its defense playing the way they should in the fourth quarter. He then added, “But I felt we made it difficult for them even when we weren’t playing our best defense.”
Karr closed by saying he told his team they had played three quarters of good basketball and gained some experience against a good Attica team.
“We’re really young, but we’re getting better. Every game we’re learning more and improving. I think by sectional we could have a pretty good team out there.”