ANDERSON — With just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter Monday night, and Anderson clinging to a two-point lead, Indians coach Joe Nadaline called a timeout.
He calmed his players down and asked them simply to play their game. Be aggressive. Take the ball to the basket. And make things happen.
Junior guard FreSan Reese responded with back-to-back 3-pointers from the same spot on the floor, and senior Kenya Wilkerson hit a trifecta of his own at the buzzer to cap an 11-2 run. The Indians never looked back and coasted to a 72-54 victory against Lapel, winning their second straight Madison County tournament championship.
"That was a spontaneous thing," Reese said of his two critical 3-pointers. "I read the defense and got to my spot, and my point guard found me."
Nadaline went into the game believing his backcourt would need to play well. Both Wilkerson and Reese were members of last year's championship team, and their experience proved invaluable.
The pair combined for 35 points and turned the ball over just twice while playing all 32 minutes.
"That was 32 minutes of championship game basketball," Nadaline said. "They played really, really smart and really, really good basketball. And that's what you expect out of your veterans."
Wilkerson made 7 of 9 attempts from the field and scored a game-high 23 points. Reese added 12 points, and both players made 3 of 4 tries from 3-point range.
Senior Grant Bennett, whose game has blossomed in the past two weeks, added 16 points, and sophomore Thomas Wells finished with 10.
"It feels real good," Wilkerson said. "Like I said, people were really doubting us. It was good to get over the hump and win county again. And it was a group effort."
Nadaline was just as pleased with his bench.