Lanesville’s state tournament Déjà Vu Tour will continue in the Class A regional Saturday afternoon.
After duplicating regular-season victories over Christian Academy and Rock Creek to win the Borden Sectional, the Eagles (15-8) must prevail in a rematch with Northeast Dubois (11-12) in the second semifinal at Loogootee.
No. 1 Barr-Reeve (23-1) will meet Trinity Lutheran (16-6) in the opener, with the winners to clash in the final at 8 p.m.
Beating an opponent twice is tough, as Lanesville discovered with two white-knuckle, one-possession triumphs in the sectional. The Eagles already own a 69-51 victory over the Jeeps in the first round of the Springs Valley tournament in December, and Northeast Dubois is one of only three teams in the state to win a sectional with a losing record.
That does not strike fear, and that’s what Lanesville coach Mikel Miller is afraid of, especially with a potential battle with the top-ranked Vikings looming as a possible final.
“It’s something we’ve addressed this week,” Miller said. “What happened in the past is the past. Our focus is on this game, against them, and that’s the most important game right now.”
Dubois coach Terry Friedman looks at the previous loss with skepticism. The Jeeps were battling illnesses to leading scorers Tyler Haas (20.3) and Cameron Riecker (13.0) that day, and the team has been rolling lately with five straight wins.
“When it gets to tournament time, you can throw records out,” Friedman said. “We’ve played well the last half of our season; we got a lot better late in the year. We had some signature wins down the stretch.”
The Jeeps will present problems with their size, especially with 6-foot-8 junior Eric Dodson in the paint and the 6-5 Haas at his side. Lanesville, with no starter over 6-2, has come up short in that aspect all season, yet found a way to win with a cache of scorers.
The Ferree brothers — sophomore Joe (14.2) and senior Jack (13.9) — pace the balanced offense, and they get ample support from junior Matt Husband (10.0) and seniors Ryan Fulkerson (9.7) and Jason Harmon (9.3). That firepower is difficult to stamp out.
“They’re very high energy,” Friedman said. “They’re very good in moving the ball, and they shoot it well from outside. It will be important to find their shooters and apply some pressure out there.”
The Ferrees set the tone.
“Jack has evolved into a player who scores when he needs to, but he’s unselfish when it comes to that,” Miller said. “Joe has taken over a great leadership role. He really gets the kids going on the floor. He has taken charge.
“It’s hard for teams to pick and choose a particular player to take away. There’s a guy or two that’s on, and the other guys recognize that. That’s worked pretty well for us.”
Miller, who has won four sectionals in his 14 years with the program, pinpointed rebounding as the crucial stat. If the Eagles can stay close in that category, he will feel much better about a positive outcome.
“We’ve faced a lot of teams with lineups bigger than us,” Miller said. “They have guys inside that pose a lot of problems. We’ll try to do the best job we can in there. They’re playing a lot more consistent, a lot better than what they were. They’re really on a good streak. We’ll have our hands full.”
The regional winner will face the champion from the Martinsville Regional in the one-game semistate (at either Richmond or Seymour) on March 22. The IHSAA will announce the site Sunday.