Prior to Tuesday’s Class 4A Sectional 10 first-round game, Greg Graham recalled the pain in the pit of his stomach when Warren Central lost in the sectional his senior year of 1989.
Graham, in his sixth season as coach at his alma mater, experienced the opposite side of tournament emotions on Tuesday night. He and the rest of the Warren Central coaching staff jumped off the bench when sophomore Djimon Henson hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1.1 seconds left to give Warren Central a 47-44 win over No. 10 Cathedral at Lawrence North.
“I see this guy shoot the ball every single day,” Graham said of Henson. “Sometimes he makes you cringe, but when he’s rolling he’s a pretty phenomenal player. He can really shoot the ball. When he let it go, I knew it was good.”
It was the only 3-pointer of the game for Warren Central, which won its first tournament game in four years. The Warriors (12-10) will play Roncalli (10-9) at 6 p.m. Friday.
The second semifinal on Friday will match Tech (21-2) against Lawrence Central (11-7). The second-ranked Titans made quick work of Lawrence North in Tuesday’s nightcap, drilling the Wildcats 82-52. Senior guard Jeremie Tyler scored a game-high 29.
“We knew (Lawrence North’s) game plan coming in would be to try and take away Trey (Lyles),” Tech coach Jason Delaney said. “They tried to do that early and did a nice job of packing it in and limiting his touches. But Jeremie got going in transition and knocked down some shots and that’s what you expect.”
The 6-10 Lyles added 15 points and nine rebounds for Tech, which emptied its bench with a 36-point lead and more than six minutes left. Lawrence North’s Daeshon Francis, a Wisconsin-Green Bay recruit, scored 20 points in his final high school game.
Warren Central trailed by as many as 11 in the first half and were down eight early in the third quarter. The Warriors climbed back to take their first lead, 40-38, on two free throws by Jaraan Lands with 4:14 left and went up four on a layup by C.J. Hardaway.
Cathedral (16-7) pulled even again at 42-42 on two layups by Justin Baker and again at 44-44 on a putback by Collin Barthel with 50 seconds left.
Graham chose not to call a timeout.
Instead, Hardaway dribbled near the top the key. He finally made a move toward the basket and kicked it to an open Henson in the corner.
“I knew it was going in when it left my fingers,” said Henson, who had five points. “I was calling for it. I had no doubt it was going in.”