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Advance boys basketball team dumps Oran to reach Oran tourney title game
ORAN, Mo. -- It looked like things wouldn't be decided until the final moments for much of the game.
Advance then turned up its defense to open some breathing room and advance to the championship game of the 56th annual Oran Invitational boys basketball tournament.
The second-seeded Hornets knocked off third-seeded Oran 68-58 in Thursday night's semifinals. They'll play top-seeded, three-time defending tournament champion Scott County Central at 8 p.m. today.
"It was a great win for us," Advance junior Ethan Barr said. "They're a good team and it was a good test for us."
Advance (2-0) and Oran (1-1) waged quite a first-half battle that featured seven lead changes and eight ties.
Oran broke away from a 14-14 deadlock after one quarter to open a pair of seven-point leads in the second period.
But the Hornets closed the half with a 14-3 run to go up 35-31 at the break. They never let the Eagles catch up.
The Hornets began the third quarter by scoring six of the first eight points to lead 41-33. It was 47-43 entering the final period.
Advance then held the Eagles scoreless for the first 3 minutes, 45 seconds of the quarter while putting up six points to go up 53-43.
"Everybody played real hard," Advance sophomore Lane Below said. "I thought we got after them defensively, especially in the second half."
Oran got no closer than five points, and Advance was able to ice the victory by hitting its free throws down the stretch.
The Hornets were just 16 of 28 from the charity stripe overall, but they made 10 of 11 in the fourth quarter.
"Take your hat off to Advance," Oran coach Joe Shoemaker said. "They played hard and well. They hit their free throws in the fourth quarter."
Below made 7 of 7 foul shots in the final period and finished with 22 points.
Barr, a powerful 6-foot-4 center, added 16 points. Senior Hunter Wilson contributed 12 points.
Junior Kody Moore led Oran with a game-high 27 points. He buried six 3-pointers. Junior Alex Heuring added 10 points for the Eagles.
"It was a tough game for both teams," Advance coach Andrew Halford said. "Both teams played hard. Oran is a good team. I was pleased overall by the way we played."
Barr said the victory was especially sweet since Oran beat Advance in the championship game of last year's Class 2 District 3 tournament.
"A little bit of payback. I was thinking about it," Barr said.
The Hornets now can think about trying to take down juggernaut Scott County Central, which has been unbeatable against local small-school squads in recent years.
"I think we're just going to go after them like we did tonight," Below said. "We're going to do our best."
Oran (58) -- Blake Carlyle 2, Blake Henson 4, Adam Schaefer 7, Kody Moore 27, Alex Heuring 10, Seth Ressel 8. FG 21, FT 10-16, F 20. (3-pointers: Schaefer 1, Moore 6. Fouled out: Carlyle)
Advance (68) -- Jacob Spears 2, Hunter Wilson 12, Aaron Veale 2, Ethan Barr 16, Tyler Middleton 4, Trey Wallace 2, Lane Below 22, Curtis Gilliland 8. FG 25, FT 16-28, F 16. (3-pointers: Wilson 1, Middleton 1. Fouled out: none)