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Braves need 2 overtimes to survive

– Blackhawk Christian took this postseason survive-and-advance thing to heart.

The No. 11 Braves beat No. 4 Elkhart Christian 66-63 in double overtime in the semifinals of the Hamilton Class A Sectional on Friday.

Blackhawk Christian (15-9) faces Lakewood Park (12-10) at 7:30 p.m. today in the sectional finals.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it was enough to get the job done,” Blackhawk Christian coach Marc Davidson said. “We made the free throws when we had to, and we battled defensively and on the boards. We stepped up and got the job done.

“I told them you have to bounce back and refocus and avoid the feeling of elation because there is more work to be done (in the championship).”

Blackhawk Christian is searching for its first sectional championship in four years.

The Braves beat the Panthers, Davidson’s former team, 62-47 during the regular season.

“We have to get right back at it,” Blackhawk Christian junior Riley Reimschisel said. “(The Panthers) are a good team, and it’s going to be a fight.”

Blackhawk Christian had to bounce back in the semifinals after seeing Elkhart Christian score quickly in the final seconds in regulation to force overtime.

The Braves led 54-51 with just 5.7 seconds left before a free throw, an offensive rebound and a jumper with 1.8 seconds remaining tied the game.

“I did feel like we were deer in the headlights for a minute,” Davidson said of losing the late lead. “We have been in situations like this before. One of the advantages of playing the schedule that we do is you are battled-tested, and we have been through situations like that. I thought our guys responded well.”

After going only 1 of 1 from the free-throw line in the first three quarters, the Braves were 15 of 18 from the line in the fourth and the two overtimes. Will Davidson was 10 of 12 during that stretch.

Reimschisel led Blackhawk Christian with 24 points, Will Davidson added 16 and Preston Rippe had 12.

Elkhart Christian (17-5) was led by Cory Waycastle’s 29 points.

Despite the team’s leading scorer, Wesley Davidson, fouling out with 3:04 left in regulation with only four points, the Braves built a 52-48 lead with 49 seconds left. But the Eagles got the quick points from there and sent the game into overtime.

“We were up about five or six the whole game and towards the end we just got out of control a few times, and they started coming back because they are a great team,” Reimschisel said. “We just got flustered a little bit, but we kept our heads in it and pulled it out.”

gjones@jg.net

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