HUNTINGTON – The buzzer sounded and the emotions flowed for the Bishop Luers boys basketball team after it fell 67-57 to Twin Lakes in the Class 3A North Semistate on Saturday.
"We know that we let one get away, but at the end of the day, these guys had a heck of a season," Knights coach J.J. Foster Sr. said. "They played well, they showed people what they could do, through all the adversity and ups and downs that we had this season, we still put together the type of season that they did.
"The ultimate dream was to go down to Indianapolis. We fell a little bit short, but it’s about continuing to be proud."
After trailing 29-25 at halftime, the Knights (19-8) went on a 14-2 run to lead 40-36 with about 3 minutes left in the third and kept the lead at 46-45 going into the final quarter.
"(Ray) Walker hit a 3 and they went up four, so we just had to calm down and refocus a little bit," Indians coach Kent Adams said. "With the way they were playing defense, I knew we were going to be able to get good shots if we just kept working and moving without the ball and moving the ball. The kids did it, they did a great job."
The Indians (25-3) opened the fourth quarter with a 13-5 run to go up 58-51 with 21/2 minutes to go and hit 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch to secure the state championship berth.
"We just had a couple mishaps that made a big difference in the ball game," Bishop Luers senior J.J. Foster Jr. said. "Offensively, I felt fine. We just had a couple missed layups, a couple missed shots and that really made the difference."
Twin Lakes outrebounded Bishop Luers 37-30, had more defensive stops (30-20) and shot 61.9 percent (13 of 21) from the floor in the second half.
"You have guys who aren’t used to guarding guys on the floor," Foster Sr. said. "You have kids who are generally guarding post players and they have to come out on the floor and guard kids who can shoot the 3, who can drive, multifaceted players, so it puts a lot of stress on guys who aren’t used to being in those situations.
"That team (Twin Lakes), they’re senior-led, scrappy guys, they have fight in them, they don’t have quit in them and they just made a couple more plays than we did. I’m proud of our kids. They came out, they played, they left it all on the floor. It’s a tough loss. We saw the kids crying their eyes out. That’s how much they wanted it."
Foster Jr. had 20 points, including six 3-pointers, Anton Berry added 19 and Walker had 11.
"They’re my second family," Berry said of his team through tears. "I love them. They’re all brothers. I’d do anything for them. It’s just really hard.
"I give all the credit to (Twin Lakes). They’re a great team. I have future teammates (Bryce and Blake Bennington) that I’m playing (football) with next year (at Marian). I wish them the best of luck at the state championship."
Twin Lakes was led by 21 points from Justin Crabb, who shot 7 of 11 from the floor and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. Bryce Bennington added 14, Blake Bennington 11 and Matthew Conrad 10.
The Indians will face Indianapolis Crispus Attucks in next weekend’s 3A state championship.