ARCANUM – The Cross County Conference held its championship finals for seventh and eighth grade boys basketball Saturday morning at the Arcanum High School gymnasium.
Arcanum took the eighth grade crown by defeating National Trail 38-26, and Newton survived in an overtime thriller against Ansonia 36-34 for the seventh grade title.
The Trojans opened the eighth grade contest with an 11-point opening quarter with all the points being scored by Carter Gray. The Trail Blazers managed to keep pace in the second quarter and trailed by just five at the half, 15-10.
The key to the Arcanum victory was the 17-7 run that carried from the beginning of the third period until half way through the fourth. This gave the Trojans a 32-17 lead with about three minutes remaining.
“When they play defense like they played today, they are really special,” Arcanum coach David Baker said.
The victory capped a perfect 38-0 junior high record for this class.
The eighth grade Trojans were JT Whittaker, Luke Wilson, Jack Shannon, Cody Ross, Cade Brubaker, Carter Gray, Braden Garbig, Austen Cuttarelli, Austin Smith, Zach Coppess and Grant Delk.
Ansonia led throughout most of the entire seventh grade final. Coach Devin Limburg had his team attack the much taller Newton team offensively and worked hard to keep the ball from going inside defensively. The Tigers led by as many as eight points twice in the game. The last time with 5:46 left in the contest.
But with 2:31 to go and Ansonia leading 28-23, Newton coach Matt Hunsbarger decided to start fouling the Ansonia players. His hope was they would make a low enough percentage to allow his team back in the game. The Tigers would make 6 of 10 down the stretch, but with 4.9 seconds the Indians tied the score for the first time of the day at 34.
The teams exchanged possessions in the overtime session. Ansonia had the ball as the clock wound down. With less than 15 seconds the Tigers attempted a shot, but it would not fall.
Newton grabbed the rebound and headed up court with just under 10 seconds remaining on a fast break. Newton’s initial attempt would not fall, but Dawson Hildebrand was there for the offensive rebound and put back with three seconds left for their only lead of the game. The Tigers desperation shot would not fall and the Indians had the victory.
The seventh grade Tigers were Isaac Barga, Blake Swabb, Ethan Hemmerich, Reece Stammen, Cameron Longenecker, Gavin Weyant, Maverick Widener, Jacob Longenecker, Chad Millikin, and Trenton Prasuhn.