The Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs ended their tournament run in their first contest Friday night, taking a 3-point loss to the Southeastern Panthers in the Division III Sectional Championship at Waverly.
The Mustangs shot 4 for 7 from the freethrow line for 57 percent, while the Panthers made 13 of 14 for 93 percent.
Eric McLaughlin led the Lynchburg boys with 27 points.
After a brief Mustang lead in the first quarter, Southeastern jumped ahead, finishing out the first quarter ahead by 2 at 17-15. The Panthers kept the lead for the rest of the game. Giordano and Eric McLaughlin were LC’s sole scorers in the period with 8 and 7 points respectively.
Southeastern outscored the Mustangs by 2 points again in the second quarter, improving their lead to 4 points despite a hard-fought quarter from Lynchburg. Brian Lampkin led scoring for the Mustangs in the second quarter with 5 points, while Giordano made 4 and McLaughlin took a two.
By the half, the score was 30-26 with the Panthers ahead.
McLaughlin put up three 3-point shots for Lynchburg in the third quarter, leading scoring for both teams. Austin Hilt threw in another long three and Giordano made a 2-point shot for a 14-point Mustang gain in the period. Southeastern was able to put up 17 points for the quarter, though, widening the gap to a 7-point lead at 47-40.
The Panthers led by as many as 9 points near the beginning of the final quarter, although Lynchburg trimmed the lead to as little as 1 point later on. The Mustangs put up 22 points in the final period between McLaughlin, Giordano, Hilt, Lampkin and AJ Stroop, while keeping Southeastern at 18 points for the quarter – but it wasn’t enough for a comeback.
Southeastern drove home with a 3-point lead and a shot at the district semifinal with a final score of 65-62.
“They just ended up stretching the lead,” said Lynchburg-Clay head coach Matt Carson. “We had a couple dead possessions, and they held onto it there at the end. We knew coming in they were going to be a patient basketball team. We were able to bother them a little bit with our press early on, but it ended up that they made some adjustments, we tried to make some adjustments, and we just didn’t get a few shots to fall.”
Southeastern — 17 13 17 18 — 65
Lynchburg-Clay — 15 11 14 22 — 62
SHS: Bodary 7-3/4-17; Steele (1)-3; Hartman 1(3)4/4-15; Ruby 1-2/4-4; Smith 1(1)-5; Benson 4(3)-4/12-21
LCHS: McLaughlin 5(5)-2/2-27; Hilt 1(1)-5; Giordano 9-2/5-20; Lampkin 1(2)-8; Stroop 1-2
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.