Just like old times.
The boys championship game of the 2012 Mid-State Conference Basketball Tournament had a familiar feel for participants and fans. Another knockdown-dragout battle between the Boone Central Cardinals and Pierce Bluejays, joining a long list of defensive donnybrooks between the two rivals.
In the end Monday, Pierce grabbed a late advantage with Lane Rohrich’s three-point field goal, then sank eight straight free throws in the final minute to seal a 46-40 championship victory over the Cardinals.
“Scoring was going to be at a premium against Pierce and we needed to make the most of the chances we earned. This game was extremely even throughout,” noted Cardinal Coach Dan Zoucha. “Both teams had virtually the same amount of scoring opportunities – Pierce was able to make their foul shots down the stretch and that ended up being the difference.”
Boone Central provided one of the highlights of the Mid-State tournament’s first round Tuesday, upsetting #2 seed and Class C1 5th-rated Norfolk Catholic 50-48 on Brett Temme’s buzzer-beating shot at Northeast Community College.
The Cardinals had to fight out of an early hole, built their own sizeable lead in the final quarter, then needed the dramatic finish for their biggest victory of the 2011-12 season.
The victory over Norfolk Catholic set up a semi-final matchup against Guardian Angels Central Catholic, a team Boone Central had defeated previously at West Point. The Bluejays were coming off their own inspirational upset over #2 seed and 7th-ranked Wayne in the opening round.
The Cardinals took care of business again Friday at Wayne State College, dispatching G.A.C.C. 60-48 and earning their berth in Monday’s title tilt.
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