MORAVIA — Only three teams have been able to hand the Moravia boys basketball team a loss this season.
Lamoni was the first team to beat the Mohawks. They were very nearly the last.
Shane Helmick stepped up in the fourth quarter, scoring a pair of baskets during a 6-0 run that helped put the Mohawks ahead in a Class 1A district semifinal showdown with the Demons. Carson Brown, the state's fifth-leading scorer, finished with 20 points as Moravia held on in the final minute to clinch a 52-50 win, avenging a 54-47 loss to Lamoni back on Dec. 4 in the second game of the season.
"We were a little hesitant in the first half of play, we missed some drives," assessed Moravia's head boys' basketball coach, Brian Bickel.
Lamoni (13-6) would strike first in the game, hitting a 3-pointer with one minute gone in the game. Brown then answered back with a Mohawk 3-pointer, one of three hit in the first quarter and six on the night for the senior standout.
Gage Hanes would also hit a trey for Moravia. With Lamoni leading 12-11 late in the first quarter, Brown was fouled when he hit a deep 3-pointer well above the key, hitting the free throw to complete a four-point play and give the Mohawks a 15-12 lead.
Following a field goal by Lamoni, Riley Hawkins collected a lob pass in the low paint area and tipping it in at the buzzer to give the Mohawks a 17-14 lead. The Demons would open the scoring in the second period as well on a jumper just as a minute expired off the scoreboard clock.
In quick response, Moravia followed with a 3-pointer by Tanner Cormeny and Brown. Both teams offense fizzled during the second frame, with each team putting nine points on the board. Lamoni, trailing 26-20, hit a 3-pointer near the end of the half to cut the Mohawk lead to 26-23 as the teams headed to their locker rooms at halftime.
Gage Hanes scored six points during the third period for Moravia as the teams exchanged punches. Leading by a narrow one-point margin, Brown was fouled at the buzzer when he released a 30-foot shot which fell short, but sent Brown to the line for three free throws.
Connecting on the first two shots, Brown gave the Mohawks a 39-36 lead after three. The Demons would again start the fourth quarter scoring first on a drive, then followed with two free throws to earn a 40-39 lead.
Following a tip-in by Hawkins, Helmick scored on a tip in and a fall away jumper from the right side giving the Mohawks a 45-40 lead. Hanes added nine points while Tanner Cormeny scored seven. Helmick led Moravia with eight rebounds.
The Mohawks travel to Central Decatur High School for a showdown with 18-4 Mount Ayr on Tuesday.
"They have a big kid who handles the majority of their scoring, so we need to shut him down," assessed Bickel of 6-2 sophomore Jaixen Frost. "He's a good mid range shooter. One of our advantages is a deep bench."
Teams 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Lamoni 14 9 13 14 50
Moravia 17 9 13 13 52