ERIE – A 3-pointer by All-TVL senior guard Mark Bogner near the end of the first half put the Red Devils up 19-11 and looked like the sign that the No. 2 team in Class 2A would prevail over the No. 9 team in the quarterfinal of a State playoff game at Erie High School on Monday night.
But two turnovers in a row led to baskets for Lyndon, putting the foe up 20-19 at the break. Lyndon would ride this momentum in the third and capitalize on some missed opportunities by Erie in the fourth, which led to the Red Devils falling short 48-45 in a home State playoff game. It was the first time since the 1976-77 seasons Erie advanced to State two years in a row.
Bogner scored a game-high 16 points, including two 3s. Senior 2020 All-Tournament Honorable Mention Dawson Lehman contributed 14 points. Senior guard Tyler Pasquarelli added nine points, including a 3 of his own.
With these players matching point for point with Lyndon’s pool of talent – Lyndon boasted four players from last year’s Sub-State runner-up team, including All-Flint-Hills senior Miles Kitselman, senior Luke Detwiler, junior Toby Miller, and junior Darian Massey – it certainly wasn’t that the Tigers were just more talented than Erie. All of Erie’s players were up for the challenge. But in the end, it came down to missed opportunities.
Erie head coach Nick Pfeifer said his team made some mistakes at the end of the first half.
“I just thought we got a little careless, almost a little sped up, a little excited,” Pfeifer said. “We just made a couple of poor decisions, and that’s going to happen in a game. And there were probably some things that I could have done a little bit better to mitigate that, so I didn’t do that. That was a momentum swinger. But I don’t know if that had a huge impact on the game, just on how the third quarter went and then the fourth quarter.”
There were chances for Erie in the last two quarters. In the third quarter, Lyndon went on a 15-6 run that opened up the game to a 35-25 advantage. Lyndon sophomore Evan Feuerborn knocked down a 3 to put the Tigers up 33-21 with 2:12 left in the third.
“In the end of that second quarter when we were able to get a couple of turnovers, knock in a couple of baskets to get the momentum back in our direction, it was obviously big for us, and then we were able to carry that into the third quarter,” 15th-year Lyndon head coach Michael Massey said.
But Erie has been resilient all year, as prior to Monday night, they hadn’t lost a game since January, so they weren’t going to go down without a fight.
Following Detwiler scoring a deuce, Pasquarelli knocked down a 3 to make the score 42-38 with 2:27 to go in the game. A few plays later, Bogner swished a trey with over a minute to go to put the score at 44-43 Lyndon.
The Red Devils would go on to have several opportunities to take the lead and win the game. Down just one, Erie stole the ball and had a chance to take the lead with two made free throws.
But they didn’t make either. Detwiler scored an and-one off of an Erie full-court trap and was left wide open in the paint for a layup before canning a free throw to put the score at 47-43 with 20 seconds to go.
Lehman then drained a two-pointer in the paint, making the score 47-45 Lyndon.
Right after the Erie score, Lyndon sophomore Jackson Biggs threw an errant full-court pass that went out of bounds.
Erie passed the ball inbounds, but Lyndon pried the ball away for a steal. After being intentionally fouled by the Red Devils, Massey executed 1-of-2 free throws, giving Erie one last shot.
Attempting to tie the game with a 3, Erie just missed the shot as the buzzer sounded.
Still, Erie had an opportunity when Lyndon seemed to be content with a sizeable lead in the early fourth quarter. Erie’s defensive level was raised, leading to 10 turnovers committed by Lyndon. For the game, Lyndon coughed it up 21 times to Erie’s 15.
Offensive rebounding also kept Erie in the game, as the Red Devils racked up 14 offensive boards to just five for Lyndon. Overall rebounding was even, with both teams at 28.
Erie shot at 33 percent versus Lyndon’s 50 percent. Both teams canned five 3s.
Lyndon’s Detwiler scored a team-high 16 points, while Kitselman put up 11 and Massey scored 10.
With the 2020-21 season now over, Pfeifer reflected on his two historic State teams.
“They mean everything. You want to come in with how hard you work and how long basketball season is, you want to come in and enjoy the people that you are working with and the players that you have, and that’s really the most important thing,” Pfeifer said. “I like being successful and that helps, too, because we’ve been not so good before, and it’s definitely more enjoyable when you are winning, but it’s most enjoyable when you have guys that you like being around.
“...I suppose that is the way a State basketball game is supposed to go. I just wish it would have turned out in our favor. I could not be more proud and appreciative of our six seniors. To have a group that stays together for four years like they did is incredible, but to have a group that is as committed and enjoyable to coach as they were is truly something special. These guys certainly have a lot to be proud of, but also have a lot to look forward to as I am excited to see how they continue to grow into men. Thank you to Coach (Jamie) Carlisle for all the work, but most importantly the advice and guidance he provided this season. We could not have done it without him. And thank you to all of the Erie High School community and parents for your tremendous support.”
Erie 9 10 6 20 — 45
Lyndon 4 16 15 13 — 48
Erie: Garrett Ruark 6, Tyler Pasquarelli 9, Dawson Lehman 14, Eric Dillinger 8, Mark Bogner 16, Tyler Duling 2
Lyndon: J. Biggs 5, T. Bazil 3, E. Feverborn 3, L. Detwiler 16, M. Kitselman 11, D. Massey 10
3 pt Field Goals
Erie: Bogner 2, Ruark 2, Pasquarelli
Lyndon: Biggs, Bazil, Feverborn, Detwiler, Massey