East Union withstood a tremendous rally by visiting Ripon in the final minute, but the Indians couldn’t take advantage of the extra chances created by five rebounds.
Ripon managed just three free throws and a 3-pointer in that span and came up short in a 67-63 non-league loss to the Lancers on Wednesday at Dalben Center.
“We ran out of time,” Indians coach Rod Wright said. “We have been struggling all year with our shooting percentage and we still have to solve our defensive problems.”
With 35 seconds remaining, Mario Roach hit three free throws to draw Ripon (4-5) within 63-60. Roach led all scorers with 17 points.
Gyse Hulsebosch (13 points) knocked down two free throws with 21 seconds left to bump the East Union lead back to 65-60. On the other end, Aaron Paschini collected his own rebound and put up a 3-pointer with 4.8 seconds left, drawing the Indians within 65-63.
However, Cody Keener iced the victory with two free throws with 1.9 seconds left.
Keener and Chris Molina were instrumental in the win for the Lancers, now 3-4.
With Ripon focused on shutting down Hulsebosch, East Union coach Ryan Tarr needed production from his supporting cast.
“We ran a box-and-one against their best shooter (Hulsebosch) so we had to pick our poison by taking him away as much as possible,” Wright said. “We decided that we would have to let someone else score and that is where 22 (Keener) and 32 (Molina) filled that gap and 15 (Austin Miller) made a couple of 3s.
“Our kids played hard and their kids played hard and that is all you can ask.”
Molina flirted with a triple-double, recording 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
“We kind of gave up some points down the stretch,” Molina said. “They got some offensive rebounds but we stuck together.”
Keener paced the Lancers with 16 points. He also had 15 rebounds.
“I thought we played very well as a team,” Keener said. “Somebody would step up and get hot and at times we played really good defense.
“We rotated the ball well and set a lot of good screens and hit the cutter.”
Tarr was pleased with the way his team reacted when Hulsebosch was bottled up.
“It was a good team win because we are going to have to find ways to win when they take Gyse (Hulsebosch) out of the game,” Tarr said. “Chris did a little bit of everything tonight and Cody rebounded the ball very well. Keener attacked when it was open and got other guys involved.”
Cole Stevens had a double-double for the Indians with 16 points and 11 rebounded with four assists, while Paschini added 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Ripon 36, East Union 34
Kory Wegner tied the game in the final 30 seconds with a 3-pointer for the Indians and Lucas Johnston drained a buzzer-beater to give Ripon the win.
The Indians’ Brendan Fugit led all scorers with 11 points. Teammates Rhet Herrin and James Gaalswyk each had six points.
Delvon Bradford had nine points for the Lancers, while Scott Morenzone and Angel Sena had eight points apiece.
East Union 46, Ripon 41
The Lancers held the Indians scoreless in the first quarter.
East Union’s Steven Cline led all scorers with 14 points and Andrew Sena added 10. Dylan Sexton paced Ripon with 10 points.