In a game of runs, it was the Lutheran North run at the end of the first half and start of the second half which proved to be the difference in a 66-59 victory over MICDS in the quarterfinals of the MICDS Tournament Wednesday.
Lutheran North finished the first half with a 13-0 run and then scored the first nine points of the second half to take an 15-point lead. The Rams came back to make things interesting in the final minutes cutting the Lutheran North lead to six after a 3-pointer by Foster Bundy with just over a minute to play. But Anthony Virdure hit four consecutive free throws in the final minute to seal the deal for Lutheran North, which was the second seed.
"The end of the first half and start of the second half was the deciding part of the game," MICDS coach Matt Hixenbaugh said. "Our two primary ball handlers (Rashad Lindsey and Thomas Militello) were on the bench with foul trouble and they really took advantage in the final three minutes of the half. We just did not handle adversity well and we will use that as a teaching tool."
The Crusaders started on a 10-2 run to open the game but the seventh-seeded Rams had quite a run themselves, outscoring Lutheran North 25-10 to take a 27-20 lead midway through the first half.
But Lutheran North finished strong, scoring on a last second steal and basket by Isaiah Holman and went to the half with a lot of momentum.
The Crusaders carried that momentum to the second half. The run was 22 points and the lead was 15 at 44-29 before Michael Scherer finally hit a free throw to end the run.
The lead would grow to 50-32 when the Rams went to a full-court press and chipped away at the lead. They cut it to eight points at 53-45 on a 3-pointer by Lindsey in the first minute of the fourth quarter. But Virdure would score nine of his game high 27 points in the fourth quarter for the Crusaders, who improved to 6-0.
Robin Thompson had 13 points, Lindsey had 11 and William Morehead 10 to lead the Rams, who fell to 5-3.
The MICDS girls advanced to the championship game Friday with a convincing 57-27 semifinal win over Parkway Central earlier Wednesday.
"My only complaint was that we took 15 3-pointers in the first half," Rams coach Scott Small said. "I think we wore them down as the game went on with our pressure."
Emily Kyman led the way for the Rams with 22 points. Freshman Maya Howard added 13 and Campbell Torchin had nine for the Rams, who improved to 7-1. Kyman, Howard and Torchin each had three 3-point field goals.
Ashley Holmes had 11 to pace the Colts, who fell to 5-5.
MICDS, which is the second seed, will face top-seeded Westminster Christian Academy in the championship game Friday at 6 p.m.
"We know we will be facing a huge test against Westminster," Small said. "But I like our team dynamic and we want the opportunity to compete against the top teams. Our three biggest games of the year could be against them and we will take them one at a time."