Unity overcomes nine-point second-half deficit to win second consecutive regional

Posted: Feb. 23, 2013 1:14 am Updated: Mar. 16, 2013 2:15 am

Herald-Whig Sports Writer

CAMP POINT, Ill. -- Unity never panicked Friday night.

Central shut down 6-foot-5 junior center Lane Davis and used a 11-0 run to open the second half and take a nine-point lead in the Class 1A Camp Point Regional championship game.

Unity coach Keith Carothers urged his team to stay calm.

"(Carothers) told us that we weren't out of it," Unity junior Will Klusmeyer said. "It was nothing big to us. We just knew we had to keep our heads in it."

The Mustangs (19-11) rallied to beat the Panthers 43-39 and win their second consecutive regional title. Unity will play Kewanee-Wethersfield at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mount Sterling Sectional.

A series of offensive rebounds helped Unity seize the momentum.

Trailing 32-23 with 2 minutes, 10 seconds left in the third quarter, Unity senior Andrew Doyle attacked the rim and scored, drawing a foul. Doyle missed the ensuing free throw, but Klusmeyer tracked it down and was fouled. Klusmeyer made the first free throw, but missed the second. Tracking down Klusmeyer's miss was Davis, who finished with seven points and two blocked shots. He scored on a layup to cut the lead to four.

"Give them credit. They went after the offensive rebounds," Central head coach Todd Plattner said. "We just weren't rebounding."

Unity closed to within 35-32 by the end of the third quarter, and it went ahead 39-37 with five minutes remaining when Klusmeyer made a 3-pointer. He finished with a game-high 16 points.

"It was a great job by the guys on the outside," Carothers said. "Our guys did a good job of making good shots and selecting good shots."

Central senior forward Marcus Landes had an opportunity to tie the game after a prolonged possession, but his layup was blocked by Davis. Klusmeyer scored on a fast break after the block to give the Mustangs a 41-37 lead with 2:34 to remaining.

Junior Austin Kramberg made two free throws 12 seconds later for Central (14-17), and after a timeout, Unity held the ball until Doyle was fouled with 52.5 seconds left and made two free throws.

"You just have to hit them. You practice free throws a lot," Doyle said. "I had a good amount of confidence going into them, and I was pretty sure I'd hit them ... and I did."

Taylor Heimann led the Panthers with 11 points.

The Mustangs don't plan to celebrate their victory for long.

"We'll enjoy tonight, but we were here last year and came up a point short," Carothers said.



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