Oracle rally falls just short
by John J. Dunn, Contributing Sportswriter
Delphi had a furious comeback bid denied on a basket in the final seconds Friday night in its 79-77 loss at Tri-County, after dropping a 53-42 Hoosier Conference contest to Central Catholic last Tuesday at DCHS.
Trailing by 12 points at 75-63 with just 2:20 remaining in the game, the Oracles embarked upon a huge rally, using a 14-2 run to tie the score at 77 on a Brent Hawn 3-pointer with 30.4 seconds to play, before the Cavaliers Dane Hardebeck hit a short jumper in the paint for the game-winner with 4.3 seconds left.
Mason Lane’s near mid-court desperation heave bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
But what a comeback.
Hawn scored 12 of his career-high 36 points in the final 2:11, including three treys and three free throws after he was fouled on a 3-pt. attempt to fuel the spurt, but was aided by Delphi’s defensive intensity, which forced two turnovers during the run as Blaine Walters came up with a pair of steals.
With the Cavs only hitting 2-of-6 free throws in the final 1:45, the Oracles found themselves in a position to pull off an improbable road victory in a game that they had trailed since the 3:42 mark of the 1st period.
Hawn ignited the run with a trey, followed by a Walters steal and layup to cut the lead to seven with 1:58 left.
Tri-County (9-3) made only the first of its next two 1-&-1 free throw chances, and Hawn nailed another triple and hit the three foul shots to cut it to 77-74 with 56 seconds left to setup his game-tying trey after two more Cavalier missed free throws.
“We did some great things offensively,” Delphi head coach Adam Ballard said. “We just came up one defensive stop short of winning the game.”
“I was very proud of the way our kids played, and I am really looking forward to getting things rolling in the second half of the season,” he added. “The boys are focused on improving, and I think that we are moving in the right direction.”
After jumping ahead 6-0 in the game’s first two minutes, the Oracles trailed 18-14 at the end of the 1st period and 43-30 at halftime before using a 10-0 run in the first two minutes of the 2nd half to slice the lead to three and force a Tri-County timeout with 6:07 left in the 3rd period.
Delphi later cut the lead to 51-50 on a pair of Hawn free throws with 2:14 left in the 3rd quarter before the Cavs extended the margin to 57-52 at the end of the period and went up as much as 15 points at 71-56 with 4:04 left in the game before the final Oracle rally.
Tyler Ross posted a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, Lane added nine points and five assists, Weston Windell had eight points, Walters finished with six, and Adam Shanks had four. Hawn also posted season-highs with nine assists and seven 3-pointers.
The game was a rematch of the Indiana Kitchen Classic championship won by the Cavaliers 65-50 on Dec. 6.
Delphi (7-5) hosted West Central Tuesday night (too late for print) and will travel to Cass on Saturday for a 6 pm JV tipoff.
Central Catholic — The Oracles almost pulled off another comeback victory in their make-up game against the Class 1A #7-ranked Knights (7-3) in a game that was closer than the final score would indicate.
Delphi trailed 21-9 at the end of the 1st period and by as many as 15 with 5:19 left in the 2nd quarter before slicing it to 31-22 at halftime in a game in which it never led.
The Oracles continued to chip away though, cutting it to 42-36 at the end of the 3rd period; then scoring the first three points of the 4th period to cut the lead to three on a Ross putback with 6:18 left.
But they could not get any closer. Delphi held CC scoreless for nine consecutive possessions, but could not get over the hump as the score remained 42-39 for almost three full minutes before the Knights converted an and-one with 3:26 left and made 6-of-6 free throws in the final 1:03 to seal it.
Hawn led the Oracles with 18 points, followed by Ross with seven and a game-high 10 rebounds, Lane added seven points, Walters six and Windell four.
JV drops a pair
The Delphi JV (4-7) lost to Central Catholic 57-25 and to Tri-County 48-21.
Against CC, Cade Murray led with nine points, followed by Kain Myer with eight, Vladimir Danicic four, and Weston Windell and Jensyn Reef with two apiece.
Murray scored eight against the Cavs, Myer added six, Ben Lucas four, John Beale two and Danicic had one.