Memorial Gym hosted an exciting day of basketball Saturday in the 2013 Lion Classic. Rushville was joined by Centerville, Heritage Christian and eventual champions Franklin.
After making their way to the title game, the Grizzly Cubs and Lions battled to the final seconds before Franklin was able to hold off Rushville 45-42 for the tournament title.
The Lions had the ball with :10.8 left in the game and down 43-42. Rushville got two good looks on a driving lay-up and rebound put back, but the ball did not go in. Franklin’s Tyler Thomas got the rebound, was fouled and sealed the win with two free throws on the other end of the court with :02.5 left.
Those last 10 seconds were crucial, but just as important for the Lions was the start of the second half. Leading by one at the half, Franklin scored the first nine points of the third quarter to grab a 31-21 lead. Three points from Cameron Cox and a bucket from Ricky Thompson, off the assist from Alex Yurack, were all the Lions managed in the third quarter offensively. Franklin led by nine (35-26) after three quarters.
Rushville clawed back in the game as Cox scored and Alex Yurack had a steal and lay-up to cut the deficit to 35-30. A Bryce Dye 3 pointer got the Lions within four at 39-35. Buckets by Cox and Kris Combs knotted the game at 39-39 with less than three minutes to play.
After a bucket by Franklin’s Brandon Hardesty, Dye’s fifth 3-pointer of the game had the Lions in front 42-41. Thomas came up big for the Grizzly Cubs to score the final four points, including the game-sealing free throws.
Dye had the hot hand to open the game as he hit a trio of 3-pointers in the first quarter as the Lions led 12-10 after the first eight minutes.