Posted On: 12/31/15 11:58 AM
By: Mason Asher
The First Financial Wabash Valley Classic Championship game was one for the ages. It featured a rematch of the last two championship games. The first was won by Terre Haute South 58-48 on Terre Haute North’s floor and last year Terre Haute North prevailed 64-60 on Terre Haute South’s court.
This year the game was on Terre Haute North’s floor and after breezing through the first three rounds both teams had high expectations for the Championship game and it would not disappoint.
Terre Haute North opened a 14-7 lead in the first quarter on the back of Jalen Owens two 3-pointers and KeShaun Sandifer got two easy layups, but South cut the lead to 15-14 at the end of the quarter.
Jaylen Minnett after his 30 point first half last night en route to 35 in the game, was looking to get going early but went 0-for-6 in the first quarter.
Minnett finally heated up in the second quarter scoring 10 points in the half.
De’Avion Washington hit a buzzer beater and-1 to give Terre Haute South the lead going to the half 31-30.
Terre Haute North was no match for the athleticism of Terre Haute South and their press but after turning it over a couple times they started to break it with ease. Terre Haute South had to play half-court defense and that favored Terre Haute North since Terre Haute South could not get out and run.
South came out hot and started their press up again and got a few steals but could not finish at the rim missing a few easy shots inside so they were unable to pull away.
North made some clutch shots down the stretch in the third quarter and their zone defense forced Terre Haute South into forcing shots that were not good. Terre Haute North cut the lead to 48-45 at the end of the third.
With under four minutes left in the fourth quarter things got interesting. Owens made a floater off the glass, Terre Haute North then got a steal on defense and Owens hit another big 3-pointer to take it to the under four minute mark with Terre Haute South leading 57-55.
With 22 seconds left in the game and the score 61-59 in favor of Terre Haute South, Kobi Riley was fouled and went to the line and hit both shots to tie the game at 61 apiece.
Washington’s final shot at the buzzer to give Terre Haute South the win was blocked by Bell and the game went to the first overtime in the Classic’s history.
Braxton Poore and Bell both hit huge 3-pointers in the overtime period to stretch the lead to 68-65 and Terre Haute South could not make shots.
Terre Haute North got everything to go their way in the period and Bell took over the last 30 seconds of the game. After Riley missed a free throw Bell grabbed the board and was fouled and made both free throws to make it 72-66.
Then Terre Haute North got all the momentum as Bell streaked in front of the inbounds pass and layed it in to gain the 74-66 lead and every bit of momentum in the game.
Terre Haute North gained the victory even though Terre Haute South broke the record for most points overall in the Wabash Valley Classic tournament with games of 75, 79, 89, and 69 points for a combined
312 points. This broke the old record from 2001 when Northview scored 309.
This was Terre Haute North’s second Wabash Valley Classic title in a row and their seventh all time, the most in Wabash Valley Classic history.
Minnett was named the Gary E. Fears Most Outstanding Player award after leading all scorers in the tournament with 96 points.
Sandifer led Terre Haute North with 21 points and was followed by Owens with 14, Owens also hit four 3s in the game. Poore and Bell each contributed 10. Seven of Bell’s points were in overtime.
For Terre Haute South, Minnett had 25, followed by Washington with 18 and Matt Deady with 11.