Trinity Lutheran defeated Edinburgh twice earlier in the season, but Edinburgh made sure the third time was not the charm.
The Lancers fended off the Cougars’ comeback attempt by knocking down their free throws late and pulled out a 53-50 win in Tuesday night’s boys basketball opening-round game of the Edinburgh Sectional.
“What I talked to those guys about was defense. We had to stop them,” Edinburgh coach Keith Witty said. “We kept them from wanting what they wanted to do best, and I told the guys that we had to battle.”
Free throws was one key statistic that stood out. Edinburgh (6-17) went 13 of 17 from the line as opposed to Trinity Lutheran’s (11-13) 16 of 25.
“The entire night, we didn’t execute as well, and free throws were a matter of execution,” Trinity Lutheran coach Michael McBride said. “It was a tough night to go down that way, and we had our chances, but credit to Edinburgh, they executed their game plan from the start of the game until the end. We played good defense the entire night. Our defense was not an issue. We just didn’t execute well on the offensive end.”
With 3:05 left to play in regulation, Isaac Roberts gave Edinburgh a 41-40 lead. With the score 44-42 in favor of the Lancers, Tyler Goecker drained a 3-pointer to give Trinity Lutheran a 45-44 lead with about 1:30 left to play.
The Lancers reeled off four straight points to lead 48-44 following two free throws from Roberts with 51.1 seconds left. The Cougars were then forced to foul, but Edinburgh continued to knock down its free throws to make it 51-48 with 14.4 seconds left.
Trinity Lutheran called timeout, but Goecker settled for a quick two with seven seconds left. The Cougars then fouled Roberts, who converted both free throws with 4.5 seconds left for the Lancers. Edinburgh guarded the perimeter good enough to keep Trinity from attempting a good look.
“We talked about it earlier that free throws were going to win us close games, and it pulled true tonight,” Witty said.
Trinity Lutheran got out to a 6-2 lead, but a 3-point-play from Caleb Dewey cut the Edinburgh deficit to 6-5. Two free throws from Goecker made it 8-5 after the first quarter.
Edinburgh came out with more intensity to start the second quarter. Chase Littlejohn created a spark off the bench with a steal and layup, and then converted a 3-pointer to give the Lancers their first lead of the game 10-8.
After a free throw from the Cougars, Noah Detling converted a 3-pointer to increase the Edinburgh lead to 13-9. Trinity Lutheran then fired back with a run of its own.
Hudson Norton helped kick off the run with five straight points and propel the Cougars to 9-2 run to lead 18-15 with less than minutes in the half. Detling then made his second 3-pointer of the game with a minute to go to tie the game at 18-18 at the half.
The Lancers extended the lead to 23-18 early in the third quarter with a 5-0 run. The Cougars came back with five straight points of its own to tie it at 23. Neither team would lead by more than four points for the rest of the third as Edinburgh led 31-30 heading into the fourth.
Goecker finished with a game-high 22 points for the Cougars, and Mitchell Hackman added 10.
The Lancers put three guys in double figures with Travis Jones leading the way with 12 points, and Detling and Roberts each added 10.