Hearts' Season Comes to an End in Regional Championship Game

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Published on March 2 2013 4:40 am
Last Updated on March 2 2013 4:40 am
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham Hearts saw a great season come to an end Friday night, losing the championship game of the Centralia 3A Regional Tournament to the host school, 42-39.  The game was heard on 979XFM and www.979xfm.com.

Effingham got out of the gate in style, holding the Orphans to one basket to lead 10-3 after one quarter.  Centralia finally got some shots down, though, in the second period and the Hearts seemed to tense up, leading to a 13-7 run for the Orphans and when Centralia hit a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer, the Hearts had seen their lead shrink to one, 17-16.

The Hearts scored the first basket of the third quarter to pull back out to a three-point lead, but never scored again in the period.  Centralia scored eight points and were up 24-19 after three periods.

The Orphans and Hearts traded baskets early in the final quarter before Leighton Lark put the team on his back and Effingham stormed back to within one.  Lark then went down hard on the Centralia end of the floor, striking the back of his head on the floor and had to leave the game, not returning to the contest.  That seemed to stall the rally and Centralia was up by eight with one minute to play.

Coach Ron Reed said on the post-game show, it looked like the Hearts were "dead in the water" at that point until Centralia committed a foul and then got called for a technical foul for a remark by a player.  Jake Stombaugh made all four foul shots and the Hearts got the ball out of bounds.  Later in the period, Josh Stombaugh was fouled on a corner three and made two of three to pull the Hearts back to within one possession, but Effingham could never regain the lead.  Centralia went one for two from the line with 2.2 seconds remaining and the Hearts took the ball out of bounds.  Hunter Keith took the inbounds pass, drove across the halfcourt line and took a shot for the tie that bounced off the back of the rim and the Hearts' season was over.

The Hearts made just 12 of 31 shots for 39% including four of 12 on three-point tries.  Effingham did make 11 of 15 foul shots including nine of 13 in the fourth quarter.  The Hearts turned the ball over 13 times and grabbed 21 rebounds.

Centralia made 13 of 32 shots for 41% including five of 21 three-pointers.  The Orphans made 11 of 19 foul shots, turned the ball over just nine times and pulled down 20 rebounds.

Leighton Lark led Effingham with 14 points including five of six from the field and three of three from the line.  Josh Stombaugh scored eight points, Hunter Keith scored six points, Jake Stombaugh four points, Alex Carie three points, and Clark Williamson and Tim Gardewine two points each.

D'Ontre Cunningham led Centralia with 13 points, eight in the fourth quarter.  Jake Wood added 12 points for the Orphans.

Effingham closes its season with a 22-7 record including the Apollo Conference championship.  The Hearts say goodbye to seniors Hunter Keith, Jake Stombaugh, Josh Stombaugh, Clark Williamson, Alex Carie, Trenton Frey and Tim Gardewine.

The Hearts boys basketball banquet will be held Tuesday, March 12 at 6pm in the EHS Cafetorium.  Cheerleaders and Pom Pon squad members will also be honored.