DANVILLE — Bismarck-Henning senior Andy Bott and his Blue Devils teammates remember all-too well the feeling they had following last year’s 43-39 overtime loss to the Westville Tigers in the Vermilion County Tournament.
The Blue Devils surrendered a 10-point lead and completely lost momentum when then-senior Robert Elliott scored on a rebound basket with two seconds left in regulation to tie the game for Westville. The eventual loss meant that Bismarck-Henning, which was favored to make it to the championship, missed out on the chance for a County title.
They won’t feel that disappointment this year as the Blue Devils defeated the Hoopeston Area Cornjerkers 45-31 Thursday night to advance to Saturday’s 8 p.m. title game.
“It feels good,” Bott said. “Last year we missed out on it. We weren’t really excited about that. That was definitely a goal this year. We just wanted to get back. We are always looking for that. Our goal is to get a regional championship, but this is definitely another one of the goals that we had.
“It definitely means a lot to make it back and play in the 8 o’clock game, because we didn’t like playing at 6:30.”
Bismarck-Henning (17-1) didn’t take any chances on missing out this year and held a 10-point advantage by the end of the first quarter. Perhaps more crucial to the win than the initial lead was that all five starters had scored in the first eight minutes of the contest.
The offensive output didn’t surprise Blue Devils coach Jon Clapp with four seniors and an experienced sophomore point guard in the starting lineup.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors,” Clapp said. “We’ve got a good group of seniors, guys that have been around the program for quite a few years.