PAOLI, Ind. – Senior guard Kordell Sowers hit 11 of 12 free throws in the final 3:23 of the game as Clarksville held off Eastern Pekin 58-49 in the first round of the boys’ Class 2-A Paoli Sectional tournament Tuesday night.
In the other opening round game, junior forward Braxton Robertson converted a 3-point play with one minute remaining to give Henryville the lead and the Hornets held on to beat Paoli 44-41.
Clarksville (9-13) advances to play Providence (14-6) in the Paoli Sectional semifinal on Friday at 6 p.m. Henryville (12-9) takes on Crawford County (14-7) in the other semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. The sectional final is Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
CLARKSVILLE 58, EASTERN PEKIN 49: The Generals never trailed after an early second-quarter surge and led by seven going into the fourth quarter. But long range shooting kept the Musketeers in the game.
Trailing 38-31 after three quarters, Eastern used four three-pointers – three by Trevor Lewellen, to make it a one possession game. Lewellen’s third long range shot of the quarter pulled the Musketeers to within two at 45-43 with 3:05 remaining.
Sowers had already delivered for the Generals, hitting two free throws at the 3:23 mark to make it 45-40, and he kept it up. His marksmanship from the line made sure the Musketeers would never get closer than five – 50-45 – in the final two minutes. His two free throws with 37 seconds left in the game made it 11 for 12 and gave Clarksville a 56-46 lead.
Sowers finished with a game high 22 points.
“He’s learned some valuable lessons this year, he’s a leader,” Clarksville coach Brian McEwen said of Sowers. “I’m really proud of him, he didn’t just luck into this thing.”
With the score tied at 9 going into the second quarter, Clarksville took the lead for good after a 3-pointer by Benett McEwen and a 3-point play by Bryce Hale made it 15-9 with 5:57 left in the quarter.
Sowers scored six points to help the Generals to a 23-16 lead with 1:05 remaining and it was 25-16 at the break.
Eastern Pekin fought back in the third quarter, back-to-back 3-pointers by Lewellen and Grant Newcomb made it a one possession game (25-22) with just 45 seconds gone in the quarter.
Eastern Pekin would keep it close – trailing just 30-29 after a Hayden Woolsey 3-pointer at the 2:46 mark, but the Musketeers couldn’t get over the hump.
After Eastern Pekin missed a shot at taking the lead, Clarksville answered in the final 1:30 of the third quarter with three-point plays by Sowers and Cody Leonhardt – followed with a buzzer-beater by Hale to make it 38-31.
For the game, Leonhardt added 10 points for Clarksville. The Generals finished 21 of 24 from the free throw line.
“That’s not been a strong suit for us down the stretch,” McEwen said of the good free throw shooting. “They focused in on that.”
Eastern Pekin, which finishes at 4-for-17, was led by Woolsey’s 18 points. Lewellen added 14 and Robert Rodewig scored 12 points. For the game, Eastern hit nine three-point shots, led by Woolsey’s and Lewellen’s four each.
PAOLI 44, HENRYVILLE 41: Paoli led 41-37 after two free throws by Ashton Minton with 4:43 left in the game, but the Rams would slow it down, commit three turnovers, and not score again.
A put back by Henryville’s Thomas Green pulled the Hornets to within two at the 4:22 mark. After a scoreless three minutes, a steal by Henryville’s Nick Walker set up Robertson’s go-head three-point play.
Green added two free throws with 24 seconds remaining to make the final margin as Paoli couldn’t convert on a final opportunity to tie the score.
Paoli had pulled out to a 17-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Henryville fought back to tie it at 19 and the Hornets trailed by just one (25-24) at the break.
After multiple lead changes in the third quarter, Henryville edged out to a 36-32 lead going into the fourth. Early in the fourth quarter, a basket by Minton tied it at 36. Minton added a 3-point play moments later to put the Rams on top 39-36, but the Hornets closed it out on an 8-2 run to advance.
For the game, Green scored 13 and Walker added 11 to lead Henryville. Paoli, which finishes at 11-13, was led by Minton’s 12 points.
Eastern Pekin (5-18): Woolsey 18, Rodewig 12, Marshall 2, Lewellen 14, Newcomb 3.
Clarksville (9-14): Taylor 4, Leonhardt 10, Hale 9, Sowers 22, M. McEwen 2, Ludwick 2, B. McEwen 5, Stewart 4.
3-point goals: Woolsey 4, Lewellen 4, Newcomb 1, B. McEwen 1.
Paoli (11-13): Street 6, Lawson 2, Minton 12, Babcock 2, Chastain 8, Sears 7, Vincent 2, Henderson 2.
Henryville (13-10): Walker 11, B. Robertson 9, Green 13, K. Robertson 6, Dieterlen 5.
3-point goals: Walker 1, Robertson 1, Street 2, Minton 1, Sears 1.