By RICHARD MARKEY
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
MOUNT STERLING, Ill. -- The Payson Seymour boys basketball team looked like it needed a change of pace.
All the Indians really needed was to go on the attack.
Complacent offensively early in the second half, Payson turned up the aggression and turned the tables in the fourth quarter to secure a 60-41 victory over Elmwood at the Class 1A Brown County Sectional semifinals.
The Indians (26-4) turned the ball over nine times in the third quarter, watching a 10-point lead dwindle to two. However, they committed just two turnovers in the fourth quarter while holding Trojans to 2-of-10 shooting to reach a sectional championship game for the third time in school history.
Payson has never won a sectional title.
"We definitely weren't playing our game," Payson guard Cody Hildebrand said of the Indians' third-quarter struggles. "We weren't running and attacking when they were tired. That's normally what we do. We didn't do good on defense or get the ball to the middle."
That all changed in the final quarter when the Indians patiently ran clock, connected on 7 of 9 shots and forced the Trojans into four turnovers during the 20-4 quarter.
"I think, our third quarter, we kind of choked there a little," said Payson's Jake Voss, who finished with 15 points. "The fourth quarter, we settled down a little bit, and I think they got a little tired, honestly. We took advantage of that and opened it up quite a bit."
As it turns out, the rope-a-dope style of play is part of the Indians' gameplan.
"That's what we work on," said Payson coach Brian Rea. "We know that any team can play us for three-and-a-half quarters, but we're looking for those last four minutes. We try to wear people out. Luckily, we wore them out before the last four minutes ... We just keep pounding them, and we have winning time at the end."
Voss led the charge in the fourth quarter. He scored five of his 15 points, registered two steals and two assists and came up with an offensive rebound with 2:21 remaining that helped Payson run another 20 seconds of clock before netting two points.
"He anticipated well and got to some balls that we needed to get to to try and lengthen the lead and put more pressure on them to play faster," Rea said. "I think that really helped us and keyed us to a win."
Voss credits his teammates' for being in the right place at the right time.
"My teammates were getting good traps, and I was just taking advantage of the pass they were going to throw," Voss said. "And when I was in the open court, my teammates were in the right spots where I could find them or make a layup."
Before their third-quarter struggles, the Indians closed the first half hitting on all cylinders. They put together a 13-2 run over the final 5:28 behind seven points from Hildebrand for a 35-27 lead at the break.
"We came out with good intensity. If we do the same throughout the whole game, we'll be pretty successful," said Hildebrand, who led Payson with 20 points.
That sounds like Indians' plan Friday night when they'll play for the sectional championship.
"We've go to play a lot better than that," Rea said. "We can't turn the ball over. We've got to stay in single-digit turnovers, for the entire game not just a quarter. We've got to move the ball a little bit better ... No matter who we play, it's going to be a tough game regardless, we're just going to have to play ball."