Mar. 6—Taylor’s boys basketball team will play for a sectional championship for the first time since 2016 when the Titans tip off against No. 8 Blackford tonight in the title game of the Class 2A Blackford Sectional.
The Titans put themselves in the title game with a 52-50 victory over Sheridan in Friday night’s opening semifinal. Blackford had two shots to tie in the final seconds, but Taylor survived.
“We haven’t got to play for a championship in a long time,” Taylor coach Dennis Bentzler said. “I know our kids are excited. Our kids are going to play hard and we’ll see. Maybe we can steal a championship [tonight].”
Taylor held the lead nearly the entire game, but it was always close. The Titans led 14-8 after a quarter, 30-24 at halftime and 44-41 after three quarters.
The Titans got 14 points from Ryley Gilbert, 10 each from Josh Bowman and reserve Mekhi McGee, and seven from Nathan Keene.
“I thought Ryley Gilbert played much better, and under control, than he has in a long time,” Bentzler said. “I thought he made good decisions. He got us off early, he shot the ball well, was under control, hit 4 of 5 free throws. I really liked the way Ryley played.
“Ty’Mon Davis came in and hit a 3. Mekhi McGee is just hard to guard. He did a great job as well.”
Just as critical were the Titans’ defensive contributions against Sheridan leading scorers Ethan Moistner, Silas Devaney and Kyle Eden.
“The Moistner kid, my goodness, [he went] 5 of 9 from the 3 line, he had 18 points but he only had one in the second half. We put a couple guys on him with some length and tried to switch off screens to help.”
Bentzler noted strong play from Quinten Tucker defending Sheridan multi-threat forward Devaney.
“I’m so proud of our guys for hanging in there and making the adjustments,” Bentzler said.
The Bruins and Titans didn’t play in the regular season. Blackford beat Taylor 83-55 in the sectional last season.
BLACKFORD 69, TIPTON 50
No. 8 Blackford got 35 points from Indiana All-Star candidate Luke Brown and pulled away to beat Tipton in the second semifinal of the Class 2A Blackford Sectional.
Tipton led 15-14 after a quarter but Blackford took the lead at halftime 36-30. The sectional hosts pushed their lead to 10 after three quarters at 51-41.
Mylan Swan led Tipton (10-13) with 17 points and Nolan Swan added 11.
CASS 67, RENSSELAER 56
Lewis Cass put together perhaps its best half of the season in a sectional semifinal game on Friday night.
The Kings are hoping it’s the kind of play that will propel them to a tournament run.
The Kings jumped out to a 40-20 lead at halftime en route to a 67-56 win over Rensselaer at the Class 2A Delphi Sectional.
“I think that was one of our best halves of the year by far, offensively and defensively,” Cass coach Kyle Johnson said of the first half, when the Kings doubled up the Bombers in what was expected to be a close game.
The Kings (13-11) were sharp on both ends of the court.
“Somebody like Carson Vest dropping in to take three charges in that first half, it’s just amazing what those charges do as far as the momentum,” Johnson said.
The Bombers (12-10) heated up from the outside and got to within 50-41 after three quarters of play. After they cut the lead to seven to open the fourth, Tristin Miller went on a personal 6-0 run. Back-to-back feeds from Tyson Johnson to Miller made it a 56-43 game with 5:00 left. The Bombers never got to within single digits the rest of the way.
Tyson Good led the Kings with 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots. Miller had 17 points off the bench. Vest had 17 points on 8 of 8 shooting from the field. Luke Chambers added eight points and eight boards.
Robert Chamness and Tat Drone had 14 points apiece and Joshua Fleming added 13 to lead the Bombers.
Cass plays No. 10 Rochester (17-1) at 7 p.m. tonight for the sectional title. The Kings handed the Zebras their lone loss of the season, 49-35, on Dec. 30 in Rochester.
COWAN 67, TRI-CENTRAL 50
The Trojans got behind early to Cowan and the Blackhawks kept extending their lead in a Class A Wes-Del Sectional semifinal. Cowan was up 15-10 after a quarter, 31-20 at halftime, and 47-32 after three quarters.
Jake Chapman led Tri-Central (11-12) with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Caden Leininger scored 13 points. Connor Hindman and Mason Pickens each dished four assists.