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Raiders win first regional title since 2001 with victory over Knights

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Shenandoah’s Peyton Starks (11) battles Northeastern’s Carter Lumpkin (2) for the opening tip as the Raiders’ Kaden McCollough (22) and a large crowd of Shenandoah fans watch during Saturday night’s championship game of boys high school basketball Class 2A Regional 11 at Greenfield-Central High School. Class 2A No. 2 Shenandoah and the Knights battled almost to the wire before the Raiders emerged with a 42-37 victory for their first regional title since 2001.
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Shenandoah’s Peyton Starks (11) guards Northeastern’s Carter Lumpkin (2) on the perimeter as the Raiders’ Evan Coers (32) and Kaden McCollough (22) keep track of their assignments on defense during Saturday night’s championship game of boys high school basketball Class 2A Regional 11 at Greenfield-Central High School. Starks posted game-highs of 14 points and six rebounds as Class 2A No. 2 Shenandoah defeated the Knights 42-37 for its first regional title in boys basketball since 2001.
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Players, coaches, managers, and cheerleaders of the Class 2A No. 2 Shenandoah High School boys basketball team display the championship placard and one of the game balls after defeating Northeastern 42-37 for the championship of Class 2A Regional 11 Saturday night at Greenfield-Central High School. It was the first regional title for the Raiders in boys basketball since 2001, and Shenandoah plays Linton-Stockton this coming Saturday afternoon in Seymour for the Class 2A southern semi-state championship.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

GREENFIELD — It was a battle of the Tri-Eastern Conference champions against the Mid-Eastern Conference champions when Northeastern took on Class 2A No. 2 Shenandoah for the championship of high school boys basketball Class 2A Regional 11 Saturday night at Greenfield-Central High School.

In a hard-fought battle that could have gone either way, the Raiders finally emerged with a 42-37 victory over the Knights to win their first boys basketball regional title since 2001, when the regional was a one-game only event.

Shenandoah improved to 26-1 and advanced to play Linton-Stockton (26-3) for the Class 2A southern semi-state championship this coming Saturday afternoon in Seymour.

Northeastern bowed out of the tournament with an 18-9 record, and a tip of the cap should go to the Knights for battling the state’s No. 2 team to the wire after falling to the Raiders by 10 points during the regular season.

“We tried to do some different things defensively that first half and they (Knights) knocked down the shots,” Shenandoah Coach Dave McCollough said after the game. “We also missed six or seven lay-ups that might have given us a nice lead at halftime. We played much better the second half.”

Shenandoah got off to a good start in the contest, jumping out to a 5-0 lead with 5:49 left in the first quarter after a basket by Peyton Starks and a three-pointer from Andrew Bennett.

After Caylor Fisher removed Northeastern’s goose egg from the scoreboard with a trey at the five-minute mark of the period, the Raiders’ Jakeb Kinsey cashed in two free throws with 2:57 remaining in the period for a 7-3 Shenandoah lead.

But the Raiders didn’t score for the rest of the period. Meanwhile, Cole Mikesell sank a three-pointer and Kolden Vanlandingham added a bucket for an 8-7 Knights lead after one.

No one scored in the first 2:43 of the second quarter as Shenandoah continued to miss some lay-ups and close-in shots as in did late in the first period. Northeastern completed its 7-0 run on a Dalton Kinney basket with 5:17 left in the quarter for a 10-7 Knights advantage.

Kaden McCollough finally ended a Raider scoring drought of 6:24 with a three-pointer at the 4:33 mark of the second period to knot the game at 10-all.

Michael White returned the lead to Northeastern 13-10 by converting a traditional three-point play. Starks hit one of two free throws at the 3:13 mark and came back 50 seconds later to hit a bucket, but missed the chance for a traditional three-point play by not making the free throw, and the contest was tied 13-13 with 2:23 left in the first half.

Bennett restored a 16-13 lead to the Raiders with a trey 1:46 before halftime, but Fisher and Mikesell hit consecutive shots from behind the arc to close the first half, and the Knights held a 19-16 advantage at intermission.

Cold shooting plagued Shenandoah in the opening 16 minutes as it hit only 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from the field and was 3-of-5 (60 percent) from the charity stripe. Northeastern countered with 7-of-17 firing (41.2 percent) from the floor and hit its only free throw attempt.

Like they did in the afternoon game, the Raiders had an excellent third quarter defensively and temporarily seized control of the contest largely through the effort of Starks.

“We decided at halftime that we were going to guard them man-to-man in the second half and that we were going to spread the floor on offense, look for good shots, and do what we do best,” McCollough added. “Starks was the man that third quarter and we were able to come up with the win. We’ll take the remaining games one at a time.”

Starks hit consecutive buckets, sandwiched around one from Northeastern’s White, to pull Shenandoah to within 21-20. After the Knights missed a shot, Starks hit another basket and recorded a traditional three-point play a little after that to give Shenandoah a 25-21 advantage with 4:50 left in the third period, prompting a Northeastern timeout.

“I was just determined to do something to help us win and get to the next level,” Starks said afterward. “Coach says defense always travels and we rely on that to help us when our shots aren’t falling to keep us in the game until our shots do start to fall.”

After the brief break, the Knights’ Carter Lumpkin tallied a bucket, but Bennett responded 11 seconds later with one of his own and Evan Coers hit a basket off a rebound for a 29-23 Raider lead at the 3:05 mark of the period.

“This is a great feeling,” Coers said after the win. “We haven’t accomplished our goal yet of winning a state championship, but we’re one step closer. It’s been our goal since last June.”

Northeastern called timeout again eight seconds later, no one scored the rest of the quarter, and the Raiders held that six-point advantage after three periods.

In the afternoon semifinal, Heritage Christian came back at Shenandoah in the fourth quarter, and the Knights did the same in the title tilt.

White converted a traditional three-point play 33 seconds into the final period to pull Northeastern to within 29-26. Kinsey hit a bucket for the Raiders, but Fisher drained a three-pointer, trimming the Shenandoah lead to just two points at 31-29 with 6:28 left, and the Raiders called timeout 13 seconds later.

No one scored for the next 2:02 of the contest until White hit a close-in shot at the 4:13 mark to tie the game at 31-31, and suddenly it was anybody’s ball game to claim.

Bennett hit a big trey with 3:43 remaining for a 34-31 Shenandoah lead, but Vanlandingham got free for a lay-up 35 seconds later to pull his team to within 34-33, and Northeastern called timeout with 3:07 left.

“I just love playing with this team,” Bennett said after cutting down a section of the net. “We play good defense, make the extra pass on offense, and Coach Mac always has a great game plan for us. we came out with more intensity that third quarter. It’s fun to play the game when you have great teammates and a coach you can trust.”

Kaden McCollough buried a shot from behind the arc to put the Raiders up 37-33 with two minutes left. White tallied a basket 26 seconds later to pull the Knights to within 37-35 and Shenandoah called timeout with 1:25 left in the contest.

“This is a great team to play for and we have a great coach,” Kaden McCullough said afterward. “We’re just two wins away from our goal of a state championship, and I’m confident we can get it if we listen to Coach and play like we’re capable of playing.”

McCollough hit a bucket six seconds after the short break boost the Raider lead back to four points at 39-35. Northeastern freshman Benjamin Deitsch was fouled with 53.8 seconds left and hit the first of two freebies to trim the lead to 39-36.

Shenandoah turned the ball over on its next possession, giving the Knights a chance to tie in the final 30 seconds. Mikesell was fouled with 11 seconds remaining, missed the first free throw, and made the second to pull Northeastern to within 39-37.

Bennett was fouled with 9.3 seconds left and calmly buried both charity tosses for a 41-37 advantage, all but sealing the victory. The Knights missed a shot at the other end and Jackson Campbell was fouled after grabbing the rebound to the roar of the large throng of Raider fans in attendance.

Campbell hit the first of two free throws to account for the final score and Shenandoah celebrated its first regional title in 18 years.

The Raiders actually ended up outrebounding the taller Knights 21-17 and committed one fewer turnover (12) than did Northeastern (13).

Shenandoah shot 10-for-15 (66.7 percent) from the field in the second half, and finished the game 15-of-33 (45.5 percent) from the floor and 7-of-10 (70 percent) from the free throw line.

Northeastern finished the contest shooting 14-of-35 (40 percent) from the field and 4-of-6 (66.7 percent) from the charity stripe.

For Shenandoah Starks led the way in scoring with 14 points, followed by 13 from Bennett and eight from McCollough. Starks also led the Raiders in rebounding with six boards and Coers corralled four caroms.

For the Knights, White led the way in scoring with 12 points, followed by nine from Fisher and seven from Mikesell. Fisher had five rebounds and Lumpkin four for Northeastern.

Shenandoah 42, Northeastern 37

NORTHEASTERN (37)

Lumpkin 1-9 0-0 2, C. Mikesell 2-4 1-2 7, Vanlandingham 2-6 0-0 4, White 5-6 2-2 12, Fisher 3-9 0-0 9, Deitsch 0-0 1-2 1, Kinney 1-1 0-0 2, Hancock 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-35 4-6 37.

SHENANDOAH (42)

Kinsey 1-4 2-2 4, Starks 6-9 2-4 14, Bennett 4-8 2-2 13, McCollough 3-9 0-0 8, Coers 1-3 0-0 2, Jack. Campbell 0-0 1-2 1, Kimball 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-33 7-10 42.

Northeastern 8 11 4 14 - 37

Shenandoah 7 9 13 13 - 42

3-point goals – Northeastern 5 (Fisher 3, C. Mikesell 2), Shenandoah 5 (Bennett 3, McCollough 2). Rebounds – Northeastern 17 (Fisher 5, Lumpkin 4), Shenandoah 21 (Starks 6, Coers 4). Total fouls – Northeastern 18, Shenandoah 8. Turnovers – Northeastern 13, Shenandoah 12. Fouled out – Starks. Records – Northeastern 18-9, Shenandoah 26-1.