Saturday night, Anderson senior Jaylen Murphy found himself with the basketball in his hands and the clock about to hit zero. He only had one thought on his mind.
“Do not miss,” he said. "Please, do not miss.”
He did not miss.
The Indians were playing Lawrence Central at home and, if the fans in attendance wanted a close and interesting game, they received it as the battle headed into overtime.
In the extra session, Anderson persevered and defeated Lawrence Central 64-58.
The game began with the Indians striking first with a 3-pointer from Murphy. After multiple completions, the Indians started to be a little careless with the ball. Thanks to a rash of turnovers, the visiting Bears fought their way back.
Head coach Donnie Bowling wants his team to work on its ball security.
“We have played a lot of games recently,” Bowling said. “I think we haven't worked on situational stuff as much.”
The rest of the first half did not disappoint as the contestants turned up the intensity.
Lawrence Central went on a stretch with multiple made baskets including a contested dunk from senior Da’John Craig. But the Indians responded with a three on the next possession.
Before halftime, a Bear grabbed a rebound and went for a last-second shot. At the buzzer, a foul was called on the shot against the Indians.
Already walking toward the locker room, Bowling argued with the official to no avail.
“The official said that we pushed the guy,” Bowling said. “But I thought it was over the back.”
Coming into the third quarter, the game continued to be a battle. But in the final few minutes of the period, the Indians had a run of their own and took their biggest lead of 10 points. That run was capped off with a fast-break dunk by Indians senior Ja’Quan Ingram.
The final minutes proved to be a mirror image of the JV game beforehand in which the Indians prevailed by two. This is when the Bears went on a run and trimmed the deficit to three.
The Bears took advantage of a series of questionable calls and hit a 3-pointer to take the lead.
LC then missed free throws in the final seconds, allowing the Indians to grab a rebound. The ball was passed to Murphy. He then hit the layup to send the game to overtime.
The Indians used the extra time to play inside-the-paint basketball. They were able to sink multiple layups and outrebounded the Bears. The Indians also cleaned up on their free throw ability as they used multiple fouls to put the thriller to bed.
To Bowling, this win says a lot about his team.
“I'm just like, man, let's just take one game at a time,” he said. “But I think we're getting better each game. I think we're a lot better than we were four weeks ago”
Ingram led the Indians with 19 points. For the Bears, Craig led with 23.
The Tribe improved to 14-3 with their 10th win in a row and has not lost since December. The Indians travel to Richmond on Thursday evening for a North Central Conference showdown with the 13-4 Red Devils.
This article appeared in The Herald Bulletin.