PENDLETON — The reigning boys basketball Madison County champions didn't feel they were receiving much respect this season.
So they went out the past two days and earned some.
With a 64-50 victory against Liberty Christian (6-3) in the semifinals at Pendleton Heights on Saturday afternoon, Anderson will play in the county title game for the fifth consecutive season on Monday night. And the Indians (5-5) will be looking to claim the crown for the second straight year and the third time since 2008.
"It feels good, real good," said senior Kenya Wilkerson, after posting 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Lions. "I'm really happy for our young guys. They're doing a great job now, and they're really starting to step up. People were doubting us. We just want to show we can do it again."
The Tribe made a convincing opening argument with decisive victories against Pendleton Heights and Liberty Christian in consecutive days. The games started some 19 hours apart, and Anderson won them by a combined total of 27 points.
That represents a big step for a team that had struggled with its consistency this season.
As Wilkerson mentioned, some of the younger players have led the way.
Sophomore Kobe Clay matched Wilkerson's double-double with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Sophomore Thomas Wells had eight points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, and junior Fresan Reese also scored eight points with a team-high four assists. Tribe coach Joe Nadaline, however, was most impressed with his point guard's zero turnovers in nearly 24 minutes of floor time.
Senior Grant Bennett had 10 points as the third Indian in double figures, following up a team-high 20-point effort against Pendleton Heights on Friday night.
When the Tribe tips off in the championship game against Lapel at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, there could be a completely different leader.