By Aaron Kirchoff Rushville Republican
---- — 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.
Alex Yurack and Cox combined for all nine of the Lion points in the second quarter. Thomas and Bryce Platfoot both had five for the Grizzly Cubs in the quarter.
Dye’s 15 and Cox’s 14 paced the Lions’ offense. Thomas had 18 for Franklin to lead all scorers. Nick King finished with 10 for Franklin.
In the opening game of the tournament, the Lions defeated Centerville 54-31.
Rushville took its first lead of the game on a 3-pointer by Bryce Dye and never looked back. Four points from Cameron Cox had the Lions up 11-7 heading to the second quarter.
Rushville outscored the Bulldogs 11-3 in the second quarter behind a pair of triples from Alex Yurack and five points (one 3-pointer) from Ricky Thompson. Rushville led 22-10 at the break.
The lead grew to 17 on buckets by Kris Combs and Brad Busald and triples from Mitch Laird and Yurack. After three quarters, the Lions were in control 36-19.
Laird’s back-to-back 3 pointers in the fourth had the Lions doubling up the Bulldogs at 46-23. Another Combs score and following 3-pointer from Laird capped an 11-1 run. Two 3-pointers by Centerville’s Eli Callahan late in the fourth closed the final margin to 54-31.
The Lions had three in double figures: Alex Yurack 13, Laird 12 and Thompson 10. Callahan led the Bulldogs with 13 points.
Heritage Christian won the consolation game over Centerville 54-42.
Contact: Aaron Kirchoff at 765-932-2222, ext. 114
All-Tourney Team Alex Yurack - Rushville Cameron Cox - Rushville Tyler Thomas - Franklin Nick King - Franklin Seth Somers - Heritage Christian