Second-place Indiana struggled at the free-throw line, particularly in the fourth quarter, but had four scorers in double figures and did just enough to topple third-place Mars, 71-66, in a WPIAL Section 1-AAA boys’ basketball game Wednesday.
The host Planets wiped out a 10-point first-quarter deficit and outscored the Indians, 21-9, in the second quarter to take a 30-28 halftime lead. The Indians answered and went on an 11-0 spurt late in the third quarter to carry an eight-point lead, 49-41, into the fourth.
In the fourth quarter, Mars responded again, this time scoring 23 points in the first 5:30 of the quarter to trim Indiana’s lead to 66-64. But despite their woes at the free-throw line, the Indians scored five of the last seven points of the game to secure the win.
Mars made seven field goals and 10 of 13 free throws in the fourth, and Indiana made nine field goals and 4 of 14 free throws.
“We just struggled at the free-throw line, especially in the last three minutes of the game,” Indiana coach Greg Lezanic said. “They pressured us the entire game with a 1-3-1 half-court trap, and they were very quick. This was a game of runs and fortunately for us we were able to hit enough shots from the field down the stretch to hold them off because we couldn’t hit anything at the free-throw line.”
Riley Stapleton scored a game-tying high 19 points for the Indians. Blake Shields chipped in 18 points, Darrious Carter had 15, and Kevin Jack added 11.
Indiana (10-1, 3-1) plays host to Freeport on Friday.
HOMER-CENTER 59, DERRY 36: Darren Carr notched a double-double, and two other Homer-Center players reached double figures in scoring to power the Wildcats to an easy win over Derry in a non-conference game.
Carr scored 10 points and grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds for the Wildcats. Joe Capitosti led all scorers with 17 points, and John Capitosti added 12. John Panizzi and Luke Ridilla scored seven points apiece for Derry.
Homer-Center (10-1) travels to Purchase Line today. Derry (2-6) plays host to Yough on Friday.
APOLLO-RIDGE 78, DEER LAKES 58: Once-beaten Apollo-Ridge collected 32 field goals to Deer Lakes’ 18 and amassed a season-high in points to score its fourth straight win in a WPIAL Section 1-AA game in Spring Church.
Duane Brown scored a team-high 18 points for the Vikings. Tre Tipton added 17 points, Alex Smith nailed four 3s and scored 12, and Mitchell Johnston added 11.
Apollo-Ridge (10-1, 2-1) travels to West Shamokin on Friday.