For the second straight year in the annual Grant Four boys basketball tournament, the Mississinewa Indians captured their second straight county championship with an 81-62 triumph over the Madison-Grant Argylls. The Oak Hill Golden Eagles placed third, while the Eastbrook Panthers finished fourth
Madison-Grant and Oak Hill squared off in the opener, with the host Argylls defeating the Golden Eagles 69-64. After Oak Hill took an 18-16 lead after the first quarter, the Argylls responded with 23 points in the second frame, building a lead they would hold for most of the remainder of the contest.
Oak Hill did grab a brief 62-60 advantage with three minutes to play, but the Argylls ended the contest on a 9-2 run.
In the second semifinal, the Indians put the Panthers away early, outscoring Eastbrook 30-8 in the first quarter and cruising to a 78-33 final. The Indians led 50-11 at halftime and forced 14 turnovers.
“Mississinewa – they are unbelievably talented,” Eastbrook Head Coach Greg Allison said. “They do everything well. They score inside. They shoot it well. They’ve got athletes that defend. There is a reason that coming into this tournament they were favored. Our kids played okay. We did some things well. We seem to always have a quarter that hurts us. They pressured us, and we had too many turnovers against their pressure. That kind of did us in.”
Eastbrook got off to a much better start against Oak Hill in the consolation game. The Golden Eagles led 16-10 after halftime, and the Panthers kept it close in the second quarter, trailing by just eight points at halftime.
“In the first half, I was so proud of our kids’ effort,” Allison said. “We had energy. Our bench was excited. We had kids diving on the floor. We had kids making hustle plays. We had kids fighting, scrapping and clawing for every possession.”
But the Golden Eagles were able to pull away early in the second half, using a 10-0 run to go up by double-digits.
“In the third quarter, [Coach Renbarger] makes an adjustments and comes out in a 2-1-2 press,” Allison said. “We turn it over a couple of times in a row, and before you know it, they leak out to a pretty big lead.”
Oak Hill carried that momentum the rest of the way, securing third place with a 66-35 victory.
Despite the 31-point loss, however, Allison was pleased with his team’s performance against Oak Hill.
“I loved our effort and our energy in the first half of our consolation game,” Allison said. “Obviously, things didn’t go our way in the morning game. Consolation games can be a little goofy, [but] our kids were ready to go. They were locked in to what they could do. They played well in the first quarter, and they played well in the first half. We had good leadership.
“We got beat by 30 plus, but I can live with it because of the energy and the effort. That’s something we can definitely build on moving forward.
Against Mississinewa, Dylan Bragg led the Panthers with nine points, while Brody Brodkorb, Alex Baker, and Deniro Trout each scored five.
In their contest with Oak Hill, Baker led the way with 12 points, while Bryce Schamber collected eight.
In the tournament opener, Oak Hill’s Tahj Johnson led the team in scoring with 20 points, while Kody Dubois scored 14 and Tristen Hayes added 13.
In the consolation game, Dubois finished with 16 points, Hayes added 12, and Jacob Winger posted 10.
Oak Hill Head Coach Kevin Renbarger could not be reached for comment.