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BOONVILLE—It took two overtimes, but Mater Dei’s strong rebounding and inside game eventually prevailed over Tell City 79-78 in the Class 2A boys basketball sectional semifinals Friday.
Neither team shot well from the field, with Tell City hitting 31.9 percent and Mater Dei 36.4 percent.
“Obviously it was a very physical basketball game,” said Tell City Coach John Hayes. “There weren’t very many clean shots to be had tonight.”
But Mater Dei, with 6-foot-7 center Matt Dickerson and 6-5 and 6-4 starting forwards, outrebounded the Marksmen, who start no one taller than 6-2, 54-33.
That led to some second-chance points for the Wildcats. Working the ball inside frequently to Dickerson also allowed them to draw a lot of fouls.
Tell City was charged with 39 fouls and Dickerson shot 27 free throws, hitting 15.
The Wildcats made 40 of 59 free throws overall compared with 23 of 28 for Tell City.
Tell City countered with strong ball-handling and defensive pressure on the ball.
The Marksmen, using an active 2-3 zone defense most of the game, forced 20 Mater Dei turnovers while committing only nine themselves.
The Marksmen committed only three turnovers in the last 24 minutes.
“Handling the basketball like we did is unbelievable because they were very physical,” said Hayes.
The Marksmen hit a modest 31.4 percent of their three-point shots but hit them at clutch times in spectacular fashion to keep the game going.
They trailed by six points with 0:25 left in the first overtime but hit three three-pointers in the next 23 seconds to force a second overtime.
Jordan Rhodes hit two of those, including one from NBA three-point range with 0:02 left, and Mike Maddle hit the other.
The most spectacular three-pointer of all, though, was Sean Flannagan’s from 68-70 feet at the halftime buzzer.
He grabbed a defensive rebound in the lane near the volleyball court baseline, which is 68 feet from the opposite backboard, and heaved the ball into the basket.
The Marksmen had trailed by 11, 29-18, before that shot and had hit only 2 of 19 from the field.
But that shot gave them momentum for a strong third quarter that pulled them within two points of the Wildcats.
The Marksmen hit 6 of 11 from the field, including 3 of 4 from three-point range, and committed no turnovers in the third quarter.
Rhodes, Andy Chinn and Corey Young each hit a three-pointer that period. Chinn’s was his 71st of the season, tying the school record set by Kevin Clark in 1999-2000.
The Marksmen never tied the score, though, until Rhodes hit a driving 5-footer in the lane with 1:37 left in regulation.
Neither team scored again in regulation, as each missed a shot and made a turnover.
Tell City took its first lead of the game, 54-53, on two free throws by Trent Gunn with 2:44 left in the first overtime.
The Marksmen ran low on gas and players in the second overtime—they had six foul out.
Still they stayed close. Flannagan scored on a baseline drive with 0:03 left to pull them within three points.
Had Mater Dei’s Jacob Weinzapfel not hit 1 of 2 free throws three seconds later, Tell City could have tied the score again on Rhodes’ three-pointer with seven-tenths of a second left.
Rhodes led the Marksmen with 26 points, including six three-point baskets.
Chinn added 16 points and Young and Flannagan each scored 12.
Jesse Stow grabbed nine rebounds for the Marksmen.
Dickerson led 13-10 Mater Dei with 25 points and 15 rebounds.
“It’s hard to take a loss like that when we have six guys foul out and take one of the best teams in southern Indiana Class 2A to two overtimes,” said Hayes.
“We showed an incredible amount of courage,” he added. “I’ve never been more proud of a team. Everybody that came in did exactly what we wanted them to do.”
Tell City finished the season with an 8-14 record.