Boys Basketball Takes Warren to the Wire, Finishes 19-5
Warren G. Harding 62, Louisville 58, OT
The #4 Seed Louisville Leopards Boys Varsity Basketball team lost a heartbreaker to the top seeded Warren G. Harding Raiders 62-58 in overtime Wednesday Night in the DI Alliance District Semifinals at Alliance High School. With the loss, Louisville finishes the 2015-16 campaign with a record of 19-5.
Drew Noble scored a game-high 24 points, snagged 6 rebounds, and tallied a game-high 4 steals to lead the Leopards. Jake Adams also made 5 of 8 three-point attempts to finish with 15, Chris Libertore dished out a game-high 6 assists & motored to a 13 point performance, and Jake Pukys also had 5 assists for Louisville.
The Raiders pillaged out of the gate in taking a 19-4 lead. Gabe Simpson hit 2 of Warren’s 4 three-pointers in the opening quarter and Shakeem Johnson threw down a slam dunk during the run. The 5th ranked team in the state was flexing their muscle and it looked like the rout was on.
However, the Leopards had other plans and flipped the script in the second quarter. They shutout the Raiders over the final 6:50 in ending the first half on a 20-0 run. Noble poured in 10 points in the second period alone, both Adams & Libertore hit triples, and Louisville hit their final eight free throws to take a 27-22 lead into the break.
The Leopards extended their lead to as many as seven and went ahead 36-29 when Noble spun to the basket with 2:40 left in the third quarter. The Raiders answered by scoring the next 10 points to pull ahead, but Adams cashed in a three-pointer from the left corner to knot the game back up at 39-39 heading in the fourth.
Louisville and Warren Harding found themselves in a see-saw battle in the fourth quarter. The Leopards led only once in the period and neither team held a lead larger than three points. The score remained tied on seven different occasions including at the final horn.
Libertore muscled a pass to Noble who went up strong for two with 53 seconds to go in the game. The score knotted the game at 54-all. The Raiders elected to run the clock down to under 30 seconds before running their offense. The plan backfired as Noble intercepted a pass in the key and Louisville called timeout with 19.4 seconds remaining.
Each team received one last opportunity to end the game in regulation. The Leopards three-point attempt hit the back of the iron and the Raiders attempt missed everything. Louisville entered their third overtime game of the season.
Warren won the tip and took the first lead of the extra period on a Lynn Bowden lay-in. The advantage was short-lived though as Adams was money from the left corner on his fifth three-pointer of the game giving the Leopards a 57-56 lead.
Neither team would scored from the field again for the remainder of the overtime. With the offenses struggling, the game would be won at the charity stride. Johnson drew a foul trying on a putback with 2:05 to go and hit the resulting pair of free throws to give the Raiders a 58-57 lead. Bowden would also make 2-of-2 from the line with 56.2 seconds left to extend the Warren lead to 60-57.
On the other end, Louisville’s offensive struggled to find an open shot as time ticked away. With 14 seconds to go, the Leopards would tack on a free throw to cut the deficit to 60-58.
The Raiders Derek Culver, who threw done a two-handed jam earlier in the game, was fouled on the ensuing possession. On the line for the double bonus, he made the first attempt and missed the second. However, teammate Simpson pulled down the board and was fouled with 3.4 seconds left. He split his pair from the charity line to ice the game for Warren at 62-58.
The two teams shot an identical 20 of 43 (47%) from the floor. The stat of the night came at the free throw line though as the Leopards made 10 of 14 free throws in the first half, but failed to toe the line for the entire second half. Counting overtime, Louisville was 11 of 17 (65%) from the charity stride, while Warren Harding was 17 of 24 (71%). The Raiders also held the edge in rebounding 25-18.
Simpson finished with a team-high 19 points and 5 rebounds for Warren. Johnson also had 18 points & 6 rebounds, Culver grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds & broke double digits with 10 points, and Tiryn Frank scored 8 points, divvied up 4 assists, & tallied 3 steals.
This was the first time that the Leopards and Raiders ever met on the court. Dating back to 1932, Louisville is now 50-80 in postseason play.
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