It started as an up-tempo, high-flying game that featured dazzling dunks and above-the-rim highlight-reel plays between two of the country’s best boys high school basketball teams.
But near the end of La Lumiere’s game at Tech on Wednesday night it became a grind-it-out affair late that came down to one team making free throws.
Tech — ranked No. 2 in Indiana’s Class 4A and No. 17 nationally in the USA TODAY poll — did just that to pull out a 71-60 win over La Lumiere, a prep school in LaPorte that was No. 20 in the national rankings.
Tech (9-1) broke a 46-46 fourth-quarter tie with a 10-0 run, mostly on foul shots. The Titans sank 17-of-21 free throws in the final period and 30-of-38 for the game. La Lumiere (13-2) was more proficient from the line, but had fewer than half of the attempts of Tech, finishing 15-of-18.
“We talk about finishing all the time, whether that be finishing with a layup, finishing with a rebound or finishing at the free throw line,” said Tech coach Jason Delaney.
The third-year coach fired up his squad early after calling a timeout with Tech trailing 22-11 with 1:12 left in the first quarter. The Lakers had gone a 13-0 run. The Titans responded with an 8-2 run to close the period. Senior forward Trey Lyles did the damage, scoring all eight for the Titans, which included a dunk and a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The 6-10 Kentucky recruit finished with a game-high 36 points, including 13-of-14 from the foul line.
“I think we thought it would be easy after coming out and scoring some baskets, and we’re just OK with trading buckets,” said La Lumiere coach Alan Huss. “We let Trey get going and get easy shots at the rim. We let him get way too comfortable, and he punished us.”
Lyles also had 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks and assists. Jeremie Tyler added 19 points for the Titans.
“When we play through Trey, it’s not always him scoring; it’s him making decisions, because he does such a fabulous job of that,” Delaney said. “If our guys are active and moving and those kinds of things, they’re going to be rewarded as well.”
Two former Indianapolis-area prep standouts led the way for La Lumiere. Senior Sam Logwood, a 6-6 Auburn recruit who transferred from Lawrence North after his sophomore season, led the Lakers with 27 points. Jalen Coleman, a nationally ranked 6-3 junior who played last year at Cathedral, added 21. No one else scored more than five.
“They’re our best players,” Huss said. “Both of those guys have been in big-game environments like this and they showed it.”
The Lakers simply had no answer for Lyles. Justin Parker fed Lyles for a reverse layup with 1.9 seconds left in the half. Lyles was fouled on the shot and sank the free throw to give the Titans a 33-32 halftime lead. It was just that kind of night for La Lumiere.
“It just showed us that we can play with anybody,” Lyles said. “We’ve beat other ranked teams in the country and other great teams in the state. It just shows that when we play as a team, we’re very hard to beat.”