Fishers – Let’s do this again in a few weeks.
It took a Ryan Cline fourth-quarter shooting exhibition, some timely free throws and a little luck, but Class 4A top-ranked Carmel defeated No. 2 Hamilton Southeastern 55-54 in a tournament-like atmosphere on Thursday night.
Don’t be surprised if these two high school basketball teams see each other again in Sectional 8 next month in Noblesville. And don’t be surprised if it’s a similar, down-to-the-wire game. Carmel could only watch helplessly as HSE’s Eric Davidson, one of the state’s best shooters, corralled a rebound and shot an open 17-foot jumper from the baseline in the final seconds.
It missed. Barely.
“I was scared, I’m not going to lie,” said Cline, who scored 14 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter. “He’s a great shooter.”
The defenses ruled the night for three quarters. Carmel (15-1) closed the third quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 32-28 lead into the fourth.
Then the fun started.
Cline, a 6-5 junior, was held to just four points on 1-for-6 shooting up to that point. But then he drained four consecutive 3-pointers, shaking loose just enough from the HSE defense. He was matched by Davidson, who scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter; senior teammate Tyler Jenkins (seven of his 14 in the fourth); and freshman standout Zach Gunn (nine of his 11 in the fourth).
Davidson made an impossibly-difficult, lean-in 3-pointer with 15.4 seconds left to cut Carmel’s lead to 55-54. After a timeout, Cline was called for an offensive foul as he broke for the ball and ran into Davidson.
It was a bit of a sales job, Davidson admitted. “He pushed me a little bit,” he said. “It was a foul, but I flopped a little bit.”
The officials originally ruled it a shooting foul, which would have sent Davidson to the line for a one-and-one. But after conferring, they ruled it a player control foul and awarded HSE the ball out of bounds under its basket.
“It was the right call,” HSE coach Brian Satterfield said. “We had the kids over there and were setting up a play because we knew we’d get it out of bounds.”
Mason Hankins missed a 3-pointer from the right wing, but the ball bounced to Davidson on the baseline. Carmel coach Scott Heady was certain the ball touched the guide wire above the basket on the way down, which would have given the Greyhounds possession.
Instead, Carmel had to sweat out Davidson’s near-miss. The 6-7 Gunn tried a tip off the rebound, but it was rushed and from a difficult angle.
“It felt good coming out of my hand,” Davidson said of his shot. “It was just a little short. I’d take it again if it was there.”
Carmel’s Zach McRoberts finished with 12 points, including a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left to push the lead to four. Michael Bruns also had 12 points, and 6-5 junior Keegan Culp, a transfer from HSE and prime target of the Royals’ student section, added 11 points and five rebounds.
“It was a good win on the road against a very good team,” Heady said. “But I think our guys understand they can play better, especially offensively.”
Heady tipped his hat to Cline for coming up with big shots in the fourth quarter.
“He’s got a lot of confidence about his game, as he should,” Heady said. “I see every day how he can shoot the ball. He has to be one of the best shooters in the state of Indiana. We needed him to get going at that time, and he did.”
Hamilton SE…8101026- 54
Carmel (15-1) – Ryan Cline 6 2-3 18, Zach McRoberts 3 6-8 12, Michael Bruns 3 6-6 12, Parker Bernhold 1 0-0 2, Keegan Culp 4 0-0 11, Preston Flamion 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 14-17 55.
Hamilton Southeastern (15-3) – Mason Hankins 2 0-0 5, Eric Davidson 4 1-3 12, Tyler Jenkins 5 2-3 14, Brendan Burns 3 0-0 6, Zach Gunn 3 5-5 11, Chris Ford 1 0-0 2, Ty Scholl 0 1-2 1, Tyler Janney 0 0-2 0, Grant Leach 1 0-0 3. Totals: 19 9-15 54.
3-point goals: Carmel 7 (Cline 4, Culp 3), Hamilton Southeastern 7 (Davidson 3, Jenkins 2, Leach, Hankins).