- Val T.
Chambers’ double-double, McClain’s clutch treys lead Lewis Cass to sectional title
Ford scores 21, leads 3 Apaches in double figures in loss
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Luke Chambers scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Haden McClain highlighted an 8-0 fourth-quarter run with a 3-pointer from the left corner as the Lewis Cass boys basketball team ended a nine-year sectional drought with a 61-56 win over Wabash in the Class 2A, Sectional 36 final at Rochester Monday.
McClain finished with 11 points, eight of which came in the second half. L.J. Hillis added nine, including the free throw with 3:18 left that stanched an 8-0 Wabash run and put the Kings ahead for good at 43-42.
Grant Ford scored 21 points to lead Wabash. He knocked down five of his team’s eight 3-pointers, but that feat might have paled in comparison to an open-court move after a steal in which he went behind the back and laid it in off the backboard all in one motion, which cut the Lewis Cass lead to 42-37 with 7:09 left.
Izaak Wright added 12 points, and Trevor Daughtry had 11 for Wabash, who finished 17-7. Wabash was denied their first sectional title since 2019.
Lewis Cass improved to 18-7 and will meet North Judson in a regional at North Judson at 2 p.m. Eastern Saturday.
Lewis Cass led 57-47 on two free throws by Trey Johnson with 35.9 seconds left. Wabash worked it back within one possession at 59-56 thanks to a 3-point play from Kolton Wilson, three free throws from Wright after Hillis fouled him in the act of shooting a 3-pointer with 15.0 seconds left and another Wilson 3-point play after an offensive rebound with 5.1 seconds left.
Chambers made two free throws with 4.2 seconds left to get the lead back to five, and the celebration commenced shortly thereafter.
The King players held the trophy aloft and then handed it to coach Kyle Johnson in front of the bench, who then invited the student section to come on the court. Lewis Cass had lost its last three sectional finals in which it had played – in 2018 (to Oak Hill), 2021 (to Rochester)and 2022 (to Rensselaer).
This marked Johnson’s third sectional title as a coach. He also guided Winamac to sectional titles in 2014 and 2015.
Lewis Cass had outscored Pioneer and Rochester, their previous two sectional opponents, by a combined 36-13 in the fourth quarter, but Wabash exhibited the first finishing kick, going on an 8-0 run to start the fourth thanks to a Wilson free throw, Ford’s highlight film bucket, a Ford trey and a pullup 17-footer from Daughtry.
That tied the game at 42 after McClain buried a 25-footer for 3 at the third quarter buzzer to cap a possession in which Lewis Cass milked the final 1:09 off the clock to gain an eight-point lead.
Lewis Cass recovered and went on their own run that started with Hillis’ free throw. Chambers made two free throws at the 3:10 mark to make it 45-42.
Chambers blocked Daughtry’s floater on a drive from the left, and Lewis Cass called timeout with 2:46 left. After the inbounds, Trey Johnson was double-teamed along the left sideline before passing to McClain in the left corner. He drilled a 3-pointer with 2:33 left to double the lead to six.
After a Daughtry missed 3 was knocked out of bounds by Wabash, Tyson Good of Lewis Cass attacked the lane on a press breaker. His shot appeared to be knocked out of his hands and off the rim, but Chambers had inside position and tipped it in to extend the lead to eight.
Ford hit a pullup 10-footer, but McClain found an open Lewellen underneath for a layup. Lewellen was fouled but missed the free throw, but the lead was back to 52-44, and Lewis Cass’ last nine points came on free throws.
There was little daylight for the first 19 minutes as neither team led by more than three points. There were seven ties and 11 lead changes in the first half. Wabash led 26-24 at halftime on a Dave Ford putback with 31 seconds left.
Lewis Cass broke the stalemate with a 7-0 run in the third quarter. Chambers hit three of four free throws, McClain found Hillis open for a layup and Chambers scored in the post to give the Kings a 35-29 lead.
Another Grant Ford 3 and a Wright free throw made it 35-33, but Good scored on a driving, spinning layup on a weave set. Lewellen hit a turnaround banker to make it 39-33. Collin Price hit a free throw to make it 39-34 before a marathon possession ended with a McClain 3 at the horn.
Lewis Cass 61, Wabash 56
WABASH (56) (17-7)
Kaden Vogel 0 0-0 0, Trevor Daughtry 4 1-2 11, Grant Ford 7 2-2 21, Izaak Wright 2 7-9 12, Kolton Wilson 2 3-4 7, Antonio Grant 0 1-2 1, Collin Price 0 1-2 1, Dave Ford 1 1-2 3
TEAM: 16 16-23 56
LEWIS CASS (61) (18-7)
Haden McClain 3 2-2 11, Tyson Good 2 0-0 5, Trey Johnson 1 2-2 4, L.J. Hillis 2 5-7 9, Luke Chambers 8 10-14 26, Wyatt Loos 0 0-0 0, Owen Lowe 0 0-0 0, Keaton Lewellen 2 2-3 6
TEAM: 18 21-28 61
Three-point field goals:
Wabash 8 (G. Ford 5, Daughtry 2, Wright),
Lewis Cass 4 (McClain 3, Good)
Total fouls: Wabash 21, Lewis Cass 18
Fouled out: Good (LC), 2:02, fourth; Hillis (LC), :15.0, fourth; D. Ford (WAB), :4.2, fourth
Turnovers: Wabash 11, Lewis Cass 7
Score by quarters
Wabash 16 10 8 22 – 56
Lewis Cass 15 9 18 19 – 61