LEBANON — Zionsville senior Anthony Scales is comfortable with the ball in his hands late in games.
He showed that for the second time in eight days on Friday night.
Scales’ three-point play with 3.8 seconds left in overtime was the difference maker against Lebanon, and the Eagles topped their county rivals for the 15th-straight time 34-33.
“Anthony wanted the ball and he delivered,” Zionsville head coach Shaun Busick said. “We missed him a few times earlier, and it would have been nice to get him the ball in scoring positions, but to Lebanon’s credit they weren’t leaving him. They have are strong and moved the ball well.”
It was the second-straight game for Scales to deliver in the final seconds, after beating Avon with a second left last Thursday.
Scales has been a key player for the past few seasons for the Eagles, but has flown under the radar a little bit with players like Isaiah Thompson and Nathan Childress on the roster.
But this year he has stepped into a starring role, is averaging a team best 14.3 points and second-best 5.1 rebounds.
Busick said Scales has done a great job of accepting that new role.
“He would probably like to do even more,” Busick said. “He is such a competitive guy, and will do whatever it takes to win and sometimes he thinks he has to take the whole thing over. I have been proud of how he has adjusted and let the game come to him instead of forcing the action. He is certainly a great player.”
Zionsville led 30-28 early in the overtime, but after two Michael Reese free throws tied the game with 1:59 left, Lebanon’s Carson Burtron put the Tigers ahead with a lay-up with 44 seconds remaining.
The Eagles couldn’t score on the other end, and Reese hit one of two free throws with 17 seconds left to put Lebanon up 33-30.
Scales split a pair of free throws with 11.0 seconds left, and Lebanon’s Luke Ferrell was fouled with 10.1 seconds left and the Tigers leading 33-31.
Ferrell missed the front end of the 1-and-1, and Scales got the ball to the rim, made a right-handed lay-up and was fouled with 3.8 seconds left.
He made the free throw, and Burtron’s half-court heave was off-the-mark at the end.
“If you would have told me we would be in the position we were in at the end of regulation and in overtime tonight, I would have been very happy,” Lebanon head coach Albert Hendrix said. “Our kids executed what we wanted to do tonight, we forced them to come out of their zone – which makes them uncomfortable, but their kids stepped up when they needed to and we made a mistake fouling him where we did.”
Neither team led by more than five the entire game.
Lebanon led 20-15 after the opening possession of the third quarter, but Zionsville went on a 9-2 run to close the third quarter to take a 24-22 lead into the fourth.
Zionsville led 28-25 with 2:34 to go on an inside basket by Gunnar Vannatta, but Ferrell tied the game on the ensuing possession with a 3-pointer.
The Eagles were appearing to hold for the last shot, but turned it over with 47.7 seconds left.
Lebanon worked the clock down and after Zionsville used their fouls to give, the Tigers had the ball on the sideline with 4.6 seconds left.
They got a good look from Ferrell from the left elbow, but it just didn’t fall.
Along with Scales 14, Vannatta and Isaiah Davis each had six for the Eagles.
Eagles down Stars in county match-up
DOVER — Zionsville needs someone to step up after losing guard Ben Weidner for the season due to a knee injury.
Freshman Logan Imes made his case to be that guy on Saturday night at Western Boone. Imes scored a game and career-high 23 points, pacing Zionsville to a 63-38 win over the Stars.
“Logan Imes played his best varsity game tonight in a time that we needed it,” Zionsville head coach Shaun Busick said. “Logan filled in for Ben beautifully. His attacks were timely and he didn’t force the action.”
Imes had only scored 25 points in the first 11 games of 2020 for the Eagles.
But he made 7 of 12 shots from the field, including three 3-pointers in the game.
A day after making only 1 of 15 three-point attempts, the Eagles made seven on Saturday night.
“We tried to make them a shooting team, because we knew if they got to the basket with their size it was not going to be good for us,” Western Boone head coach Josh Burkett said. “We wanted to make them shooters, and they just knocked down shots.”
Zionsville jumped out to a 10-2 lead, and led 13-8 after a quarter.
Western Boone stayed close, trailing 20-14 with 3:39 to go in the first half, but Zionsville closed the half on a 9-2 run and went to the half up 13.
“We came in tonight a little bit reeling from last night, I thought we were out-played a little bit even though we won,” Busick said. “Tonight, it was important for us to get off to a good start. In three of the four quarters we held them to single digits, and that’s where it starts for us.”
Western Boone got as close as 10 late in the third quarter, but the Eagles pushed the lead back to 15 and then cruised in the fourth quarter.
“It’s extremely hard to come back against them,” Burkett said. “You can’t turn them over either, it’s really hard to speed them up and turn them over. They are big, so that helps them too. You have to grind out possessions on them to score and it makes it tough.”
Along with Imes’ 23, Anthony Scales had 18 and Nick Richart had eight.