Men’s basketball season ends in Sectional opener

Irish fall to Lawrence North 65-59


Adrian Edmonds

Head Coach Mr. Jason Delaney gathers his team during the Sectional opener on Feb. 26 at Lawrence North.

Madi Wirth , Reporter

The first round of the IHSAA boys’ basketball State tournament began Feb. 26. Playing in  Sectional 10, the “death Sectional,” are Arsenal Tech, Cathedral, Lawrence Central, Lawrence North, North Central and Warren Central. Of those six schools, three are ranked in the top seven in Class 4A.

Lawrence Central and defending State champion Warren Central each received byes in their first round.

The Irish have not won a Sectional since 2013, when the team would go on to finish as Class 4A State runner-up, and had high hopes for tournament success this year, with the squad ranked in the Top 10 throughout the regular season.

The first game featured Arsenal Tech and North Central, and the Panthers finished Tech off 61-55 at the end of the fourth quarter. They advance against third-ranked Lawrence Central at 6 p.m. on March 1.

Directly following, the Irish took on Lawrence North. Just 32 seconds into the game, Head Coach Mr. Jason Delaney dispatched his suit jacket, perhaps a sign of the intensity of the game to come.

The Wildcats took a 15-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. Two minutes into the second quarter, nine of Cathedral’s 11 points belonged to senior Armaan Franklin. The Indiana University recruit would add 10 in this quarter alone. Two Franklin back-to-back drives with a foul drawn, then converting the free throw, left the score tied at 26 with 45 seconds left in the half. Wildcats kept possession for the remainder of the half.

Before letting time expire, Lawrence North’s Dorean Hatton, a junior, scored his only two to take the lead to 28-26 headed into the half.

The Irish came back fired up after half as Michael McNulty, senior and leprechaun, led “We’re not leavin,” chants echoing through the Wildcat gym.

Cathedral dropped another pair of threes on back-to-back possessions, one each from senior Ross Welch and Franklin to tie the game at 35. In no more than the next 45 seconds, quick plays and buckets between Lawrence North’s Jared Hankins and Shamar Avance led to two answers from Cathedral freshman Tayshawn Comer.

Delaney called timeout, with the game tied at 39. A textbook play off the in-bound to Cathedral’s wide-open Justin Hensley resulted in a 42-39 lead. Franklin converted two more free throws shortly after. He would finish eight of 11 from the line. Another three by Hensley left the Irish in the lead 45-41 headed into the fourth.

Lawrence North trailed 47-41 with six minutes left, but a 12-0 run by the Wildcats let them take over at 53-47. The Irish would not be able to catch up the rest of the contest, ending their season with a final of 65-59. Franklin finished with 30 ater averaging 23.8 per game on his final season in navy and gold.

Lawrence North moves on to play second-ranked Warren Central on March 1 following the Lawrence Central-North Central game.

The Irish graduate six seniors, Nick Drehs, James Franklin, Armaan Franklin, Justin Hensley, Haven Montefalco and Ross Welch. Manager Jack Nierste, who was given the opportunity to play on Senior Night, is also leaving the bunch.

Comer is the only returning starter, but will be joined by juniors Grant Taueg and Ryan Trusler and sophomore Camden Jordan, who each received minutes in the Sectional game.

Following their last game, Delaney tweeted, “I will promise that the future of Cathedral basketball is going to be extremely exciting. There always comes a point when a team gets past the thorn in their side and accomplishes greatness. Just continue to believe.”