The Hoopster junior high Hoosiers and Blue Devils brought their game, tossed in some energy, fired it up and played an intense game Saturday at Langston Hughes Elementary. The Blue Devils buried the Hoosiers, 32-16, but despite the lopsided score the Hoosiers kept up the energy and challenged the Blue Devils until the final whistle.
The Blue Devils' offense came out on fire in the consolation bracket of the postseason tournament, keeping the ball moving and not allowing the Hoosiers a moments' rest.
"We were all over the court," Blue Devils coach Pat Laushman said. "We had a lot of steals."
The Devils started off the game with a spark, scoring an early three points only to have the Hoosiers come back hot on their tails. Jake Henley laid one up for the Hoosiers, giving them their first lead of the game early in the first.
Both teams kept their powers focused on closely guarding their man, turning the court into a blur of orange and black as the shoes squeaked across the gym floor. The stifling defense early on in the game prevented either team from gaining a definitive lead.
The Blue Devils finished out the first reclaiming their lead when Troy Larson hit a clean three pointer, making the score 5-4 at the quarters' end.
After a scoreless four minutes to the start of the second, Jeremiah Risner sank a shot for the Blue Devils. Risner's basket sparked the energy level of both teams, but the Devils had an extra bounce in their step and took off with the ball, running away with the score. Blue Devil Keith Barnes continued to put the heat on the Hoosiers, stealing the ball and taking it down for a smooth layup.
The Devils took a firm grip on the court, knocking the Hoosiers senseless with their offense. Barnes took the ball to the hoop for another two, answering Hoosier Harrison Helmick's four-point burst.
What started out as a close game soon got out of control as the Blue Devils began to hammer the nails in the Hoosiers' coffin bit by bit. Julyan Wilson opened up the scoring for the Devils after halftime. Not lying down to take the beating, the Hoosiers kept pace for a short while, but they just kept nipping at the Devils' heels.
Mike Lyons landed his third shot of the game, closing out the third with the Blue Devils in front 28-12.
With so much energy and so much desire for the win, both teams began to crack under the strain early in the fourth. Both teams kept the ball moving up and down the court, weaving back and forth between themselves, but failing to find the bottom of the net.
Scott Ragan landed the jumper to get the scoring back on track for the Hoosiers and give them some life. On the other end of the ball the Hoosiers' concrete defense only allowed the Blue Devils four more points the rest of the game. Even though the Hoosiers defense held the opponent, the scoring deficit was too much for their offense to overcome.
Helmick polished off the game with a smooth fade back for the Hoosiers, ending it at 32-16.
"Offensively, we really got some great shots off," Laushman said, "but in the end it was our defense that really did it."
Hoosiers coach Larry Leslie was proud of his team, he said. The slow first half is what brought his team to its knees.
"Fundamentally, we played a sound game," he said. "But, we missed a lot of our layups. Had we hit those at the beginning, it could have been a completely different game. But, that's how it goes sometimes."