Knights fall in title contest

Dallas Holmes leaps to block a shot of a Morristown Yellow Jacket player during the first half of the IHSAA boys basketball championship game on Saturday. Photo by David Fenker

By Josh Sigler

INDIANAPOLIS – The Southwood boys basketball has been an offensive juggernaut all season, average 76.8 points per game, the state’s fourth best average.

That went all out the window In Saturday’s Class A state finals with Morristown. With the Knights  struggling mightily offensively throughout, the Yellow Jackets, jumped ahead with a 13-4 run early in the second quarter never looked back, downing the Knights 89-60 to win the Class A State Championship.

“When I looked at the game from that perspective, a lot of the game came down to our shooting,” Southwood coach John Burrus said. “It just felt like they would score and we couldn’t score. You have to get them a lot of credit. Morristown played great. Their coach had them well prepared.
“We just struggled to score. That’s a game typically where we score 80 to 85 points a night playing that style. Today, we just couldn’t score in key times.”

Five early points from Peyton Trexler helped the Knights (25-4) jump out to an early lead, by that’s when the offensive barrage started for the Yellow Jackets. 

Logan Laster and Elie Streeval buried 3-pointers, and Streevel went on to hit another 3 and grabbed a steal and stuck in a breakaway to give Morristown a 21-17 at the end of the first quarter.

As the deficit started to pile up in the second quarter and beyond, forcing Southwood to try to get back in the game with the 3-pointer. It didn’t work, as the Knights shot a dismal 5 for 32 from beyond the arc.

“We didn’t want to shoot that many 3s,” Burrus said.. “We wanted to tighten the game a little bit. Morristown isn’t a big team. They’re a transition team. They do their damage off of dribble drives and kick out 3s. They’re a team a lot like us. But, their three point shooting became a problem. “

Streeval had a game to remember, pouring in five 3-pointers. He scored three consecutive buckets, while Laster added a trey and floater up Morristown’s lead to 10 at 32-22 with 4:57 left in the first half. .

The Knights would get no closer than seven the rest of the way.

“The numbers got worse as the game went on, but it was because of early struggles,” Burrus said. “The struggles led to us having to do some things we really didn’t want to do. You have that sense of urgency. When the game is turning on you you can feel it. The you’re like ‘we have to do something here’ and that’s when the instincts kick in to start shooting 3s.
“If we hit four or five of those in the third quarter is might’ve been different game. But, they didn’t go in. On the other end, Morristown was able to get some things done.

Morristown came of the gates on a 10-4 run to take full control, taking a 38-29 intermission lead and growing it to 48-33 in a 2:14 stretch.

Southwood battled back to within eight by a 3-pointer from Ethen Roberts, and a pair of transition buckets from Trexler, but Morristown had an answer this time, rattling off a 15-3 surge to grow its lead to 20 at 65-45 with 35 seconds left in the third.
An 8-0 run midway through the fourth dashed any hopes of a Southwood comeback.

Souhwood normally shoots 38 percent from three, but were limited to a 15.6 percent performance Saturday on 5 for 32 shooting,

A squad which normally pours in 52 percent of its shots per game as a team was limited to just 36.1 percent from the floor in Saturday’s loss.

Streeval poured in a game high 35 points for the Yellow Jackets. Laster added 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Hayden Langkabel finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Morristown outrebounded  Southwood 51-29.

Matthew Nose scored 12 points and pulled down five rebounds in the loss. Carson Blair scored 7 points to finish his career with 1.687 career points, making him the Wabash County Boys all-time leading scorer.

Roberts added nine in his final game with the Knights, and Dallas Holmes contributed 10 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and four steals.

Peyton Trexler led the way for Southwood, finishing the day with 18 points, seven assists and three steals.

“We came here to get the job done,” Trexler said. “Coach said as we keep going down the road that it feels good when you’re there, but you still have a job to do. We came into this game confident and we came out fast, and it started falling apart from there. But, I think we finished strong as a group.”

Southwood will say goodbye to four seniors in Roberts, Norse, Trexler and Blair.

“This means the world,” Trexler said. “I really strived this year to make every sport I played in last as long a possible. I’m going to miss it. I know these guys are going to miss it. This is a dream. And, now that it’s come to reality, even though we didn’t the job done its special to us.”


Posted on 2018 Mar 27