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The Hall boys basketball team did a little bit of everything in an attempt slow down Wednesday's Class 2A Bureau Valley Regional against No. 1-seeded Seneca, including holding the ball unguarded for nearly a three-minute stretch in the third quarter.
However, the Red Devils never led in the game and trailed by five points in the final seconds before senior Brett Fanning hit a 3-point shot with two seconds left to make the game seem closer than it really was.
“The kids executed the game plan perfectly and did exactly what we wanted them to do,” Hall coach Mike Filippini said after his team fell 42-40. “We had a couple of turnovers and, obviously, that is going to happen, but give a lot of credit to the kids. (The slow down offense) is hard to do. It’s nerve-wracking. They were taught to count to three and dribble.”
Trailing but staying in the game in the first half, Hall finally broke through midway through the third quarter. Down 21-15, Fanning hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit, and senior Danny Nolasco tied the game at 21-21 with a 3 with 4:30 left in the contest.
However, Seneca’s Carter Gallick responded with a go-ahead 3-point shot on the next Irish possession. Hall then turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play to Seneca’s Brian Bergeson, who was fouled while making a basket.
Bergeson made the free throw to complete the three-point play to give the Irish a 6-0 run in a matter of 12 seconds.
Down by six, Hall stalled for nearly three minutes to end the third quarter but came away with no points.
“Seneca is a lot more talented than we are and we thought that was our best way to stay in the game,” Filippini said of stalling. “We’ve been practicing that for three weeks, and three years ago it worked against Chillicothe (IVC) and tonight it almost worked.”
The Red Devils also began to foul with 2:30 left in the game, but Seneca went 11-for-13 from the foul line down the stretch to seal the win.
“We really executed down the stretch, and in the postseason — as I told the kids in the locker room — I’ll take two-point wins all day,” said Seneca coach Russell Witte said, who previously coached at Hall and led the Red Devils to their most recent regional title in 2004.
Fanning finished with a game-high 26 points for the Red Devils (11-17), while Seneca was led by 11 points from Conlan Callahan.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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