Boys sectionals: Tech tops Cathedral in 2 OTs, to meet Lawrence North

Boys sectionals: Tech tops Cathedral in 2 OTs, to meet Lawrence North

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Boys sectionals: Tech tops Cathedral in 2 OTs, to meet Lawrence North

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Tears welled in his eyes and his teammates hung over his shoulders as Tech senior guard C.J. Walker tried to make sense of what had just played out on the basketball court.

Even for a program rich in history, the Titans’ double-overtime win Friday night against Cathedral certainly won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Every time it appeared Tech’s season was seconds away from ending, the Titans summoned some magic and found a way to answer.

Trailing Cathedral by three points in the final 1:15 of double overtime, Walker scored five unanswered points to lead his team to a thrilling 74-72 win against the Irish in a Class 4A sectional semifinal game at Lawrence Central.

Walker, a Purdue recruit, scored 12 points in the second overtime and finished with 34 to keep the defending state champions alive for another day. He also surpassed 1,000 career points in the game and is now Tech’s 10th all-time leading scorer.

“Words can’t explain how we’re feeling,” Walker said. “I want to give a shout out to all of my teammates and coaches. We came together as a team, and we’re going to the sectional title (game) to win.”

The Titans (15-8) will defend their sectional title at 7 p.m. Saturday against No. 11-ranked Lawrence North. The Wildcats advanced by pulling away late to down rival Lawrence Central 53-48 in the other semifinal.

But basketball fans will probably be talking about Tech’s win – which coach Jason Delaney called an “instant classic” – for quite some time.

The Titans trailed 47-46 in the final minute of regulation, but a three-point play by Walker gave Tech a two-point lead.

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Cathedral freshman forward Emil Ekiyor forced overtime by hitting a pair of free throws with 10 seconds to play.In the first overtime, Tech trailed by five points, 59-54 with 32 seconds left, made a couple crucial plays. Senor guard Eric Meeks’ free throw tied it at 61 with two seconds to play.

In the second overtime, Tech trailed 70-67 with less than a minute to play when Walker drove to the basket and was fouled. He hit his free throw to tie the game at 70, and followed with a steal and a layup to put the Titans up 72-70 with 50 seconds to play. He helped ice it with a pair of free throws with 25 seconds remaining.

“It wasn’t his best game from a shooting standpoint,” Tech coach Jason Delaney said. “But when the game is on the line, he’s the guy that will step up. I’m so proud of that kid.”

Senior forward Donte Gladney added 16 points, while Meeks added 12 for the Titans, which included a trio of 3-pointers.

“I always tell these guys to dig deeper and be mentally tough,” Delaney said. “Tonight that came out. This is what champions do. They’ve been around champions and have learned from some really good players. This is a team some were saying would be lucky to win five games, and they’ve won 15 games.”

Senior forward Jared Thomas led the Irish (13-10) with 20 points, while junior guard Eron Gordon finished with 12, but fouled out late in regulation and did not play in the overtime sessions.

The Wildcats (18-5) will be looking to capture their first sectional title since 2009 Saturday night.

The second game was tight throughout, with Lawrence North leading Lawrence Central (11-13) 25-22 at halftime and 36-34 at the end of the third quarter.

Sophomore center Ra Kpedi’s layup pushed the lead to five points, and a pair of free throws by senior guard Pat Bacon made it 46-39 with 51 seconds to play. The Wildcats iced the game by hitting 11-of-14 free throws in the fourth quarter.

“I thought our defense was outstanding tonight,” Lawrence North coach Jack Keefer said. “We held them to the 40s for the second time this season. And I think our subs did a wonderful job.”

Bacon led the Wildcats with 15 points.

TECH 74, CATHEDRAL 72 (2 OT)

Tech

11

13

10

15

12 13 —

74

Cathedral

14

10

9

16

12 11 —

72

Tech — Eric Meeks 12, Chris King 6, C.J. Walker 34, Donte Gladney 17, Chris Davis 4, Greg Gaddie 1. Totals: 21 27-39 74.

Cathedral — Jordan Walker 18, Eron Gordon 12, Tra Landers 3, Jared Thomas 20, Emil Ekiyor 9, Mathew Paligraf 3, Jarron Coleman 5, Austin Kendrick 2. Totals: 25 17-28 72.

3-Pointers – Tech 5 (Meeks 3, King 2). Cathedral 5 (Thomas 2, Walker 1, Gordon 1, Paligraf 1).

LAWRENCE NORTH 53, LAWRENCE CENTRAL 48

Lawrence Central

15

7

12

14

48

Lawrence North

15

10

11

17

53

Lawrence Central — Daveon Bell 3, Mehki Biffle 24, Nash Griffin 4, Kyle Guy 10, Mario Nalls 4, Marlon Sam 3. Totals: 18 11-18 48.

Lawrence North — Antwann Cushingberry 10, Jaylen McKay 4, Pat Bacon 15, Kevin Easley 9, Wesley Bender 4, Ethan Jarrett 6, Ra Kpedi 5. Totals: 18 15-20 53.

3-Pointers – Lawrence Central 1 (Bell 1). Lawrence North 2 (Easley 1, Cushingberry 1).

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