Danville thwarts Beech Grove comeback attempt

Danville thwarts Beech Grove comeback attempt


Danville thwarts Beech Grove comeback attempt


Danville beat Beech Grove to win a sectional title Saturday night.

Danville beat Beech Grove to win a sectional title Saturday night.

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Beech Grove trailed host Danville by as many as 18 points midway through the second quarter of Saturday’s Class 3A boys basketball sectional championship game.

The Hornets battled back to trail by a single point with less than a minute remaining. That’s when Danville freshman Sam Comer had the best 30 seconds of his young high school career. The 6-4 guard made back-to-back baskets to help lift the Warriors to a 74-65 win.

It’s Danville’s 16th sectional title, but first since 2013. The Warriors move on to face No. 9 Tri-West in the March 11 regional at Greencastle. Danville (19-8) lost a pair of regular season meetings to the Bruins by 12 and 13 points.

The Warriors looked in control throughout most of the first half Saturday, building an early 22-6 first-quarter lead that stretched to 37-19 on an offensive rebound putback by Zach Callahan with 2:05 left in the first half. Rebounding was the key to the early dominance for Danville, with several of the Warriors baskets coming after an offensive rebound. Danville dominated the boards 34-16.

“We knew offensive rebounding would be an awfully big key,” said Beech Grove coach Matt English.

The Hornets ramped up their defensive pressure, and in turn began attacking on offense to close the gap to 42-32 at the half.

Junior guard Kenny Washington was electric in the third quarter, attacking the basket to score nine of his 16 points in the period and help the Hornets storm back. Beech Grove took a 52-50 lead into the fourth.

“We knew they were going to make a run,” said Danville coach Brian Barber. “They’re too good of a team not to. They’re relentless. They’ve got so many weapons and they play so fast.”

Danville showed it has some offensive firepower, too. Callahan scored on a spin move in the lane to tie it at 52. Sophomore guard Connor Jones, who led all scorers with 26 points, buried a 3, Alec Burton added a layup and Callahan scored off his own miss to lift Danville to a 59-53 lead with 6:15 left.

The Hornets refused to yield, though. Dylan Allen, who led Beech Grove (18-7) with 18 points, scored a four-point play to get the Hornets right back in it. Washington scored on a steal and layup to cut the Danville lead to 66-65 with 1:52 left. That’s when Comer, the freshman who has played extensive minutes for the Warriors all season, stepped up.

With the Warriors trying to drain the clock, Beech Grove fouled Comer. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Burton pulled down another big Danville rebound and fed Comer, who scored a layup to make it 68-65 with 53 seconds left. Callahan blocked a Washington shot on a drive and found Comer on the breakaway for another layup with 26 seconds remaining. Callahan sank four straight free throws late to ice it.

“It’s what you dream of, right, growing up? Hitting big shots down the stretch,” Comer said. “It’s unreal. This is amazing. We started out really strong this season, we went through a slump but this team is here to play. This is our run.”

Danville 74, Beech Grove 65

Beech Grove     11 21 20 13 – 65

Danville            24 18   8  24 – 74

Beech Grove (18-7) – Dylan Allen 5 7-10 18, Chase Andries 3 1-1 7, Jalyn Curry 4 1-2 11, Montrez Hearon 3 0-3 6, Gavin Hess 0 1-2 1, Jomar Seals 3 0-0 6, Dane Stennett 0 0-0 0, Kenny Washington 6 3-7 16. Totals: 24 13-25 65.

Danville (19-8) – Alec Burton 5 8-13 18, Zach Callahan 4 0-0 8, Austin Cowart 4 1-2 9, Connor Jones 8 7-8 26, Steven Guipe 0 0-0 0, Jackson Wynn 0 0-0 0, Toby Hiland 2 1-2 7, Sam Comer 3 0-2 6. Totals: 26 17-27 74.

3-point goals: Beech Grove 4 (Allen, Curry 2); Danville 5 (Jones 3, Hiland 2).


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