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Bosse increases tempo, runs away from Castle in ONB Classic semis

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PARADISE, Ind. — There were differences of opinion on why Bosse trailed Castle 23-22 at halftime on Thursday in the semifinals of the Old National Bank Classic boys’ basketball tournament.

Bosse coach Shane Burkhart didn’t think the first half was necessarily played at Castle’s tempo, noting that his team played great defense in forging an 11-6 first-quarter lead.

On the other hand, JaQuan Lyle said the Bulldogs were “kind of lazy” in the first half.

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS
Harrison's Duran Miller (14) scores over Mater Dei during the Old National Bank semifinals on Thursday.

Photo by Erin McCracken

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS Harrison’s Duran Miller (14) scores over Mater Dei during the Old National Bank semifinals on Thursday.

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS 
 Castle's Devyn Johnston (22) looks to pass the ball to teammate Blake Simmons (50) during the first half of Thursday night's Old National Bank Classic Semi- Finals game at Castle High School.

Photo by Erin McCracken

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS Castle’s Devyn Johnston (22) looks to pass the ball to teammate Blake Simmons (50) during the first half of Thursday night’s Old National Bank Classic Semi- Finals game at Castle High School.

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS 
 Castle's Blake Simmons (50) and Kyle Aiton (14) try to block Bosse's Bo Burkhart (22) from passing the ball to a teammate during the second half of Thursday night's Old National Bank Classic Semi- Finals game at Castle High School.

Photo by Erin McCracken

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS Castle’s Blake Simmons (50) and Kyle Aiton (14) try to block Bosse’s Bo Burkhart (22) from passing the ball to a teammate during the second half of Thursday night’s Old National Bank Classic Semi- Finals game at Castle High School.

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS 
 Bosse's JaQuan Lyle (1) blows passed Castle's Blake Simmons (50) as he drives toward the basket during the first half of Thursday night's Old National Bank Classic Semi- Finals game at Castle High School.

Photo by Erin McCracken

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS Bosse’s JaQuan Lyle (1) blows passed Castle’s Blake Simmons (50) as he drives toward the basket during the first half of Thursday night’s Old National Bank Classic Semi- Finals game at Castle High School.

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS 
 Mater Dei's Will LaRue (20) tries to keep Harrison's Brandon Stewart (24) from passing the ball to a teammate during the first half of Thursday night's Old National Bank Classic Semi- Finals game at Castle High School.

Photo by Erin McCracken

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS Mater Dei’s Will LaRue (20) tries to keep Harrison’s Brandon Stewart (24) from passing the ball to a teammate during the first half of Thursday night’s Old National Bank Classic Semi- Finals game at Castle High School.

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS 
 Mater Dei's Tyler Walsh (40) tries to keep Harrison's Ernie Duncan from scoring during the first half of Thursday night's Old National Bank Classic Semi- Finals game at Castle High School.

Photo by Erin McCracken

ERIN MCCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESS Mater Dei’s Tyler Walsh (40) tries to keep Harrison’s Ernie Duncan from scoring during the first half of Thursday night’s Old National Bank Classic Semi- Finals game at Castle High School.

“We weren’t hitting our shots,” Lyle said. “In the second half we started running and playing defense and got stops. Jeremy (Martin) hit a few early shots and Bryson (Johnson), too. That helped out a lot.”

Johnson was 3-for-3 from the field, including two 3-pointers, in scoring eight points in the third quarter as Bosse found another gear and simply ran away from the hosts in posting a 67-52 victory.

“It was just us executing, and I hit a couple of wide-open shots,” said Johnson, who finished with 10 points. “You’ve got to knock them down. We came together at the defensive end and executed offensively.”

In the second quarter, Burkhart said the Bulldogs allowed Castle to “catch and shoot.” In the second half, they made the Knights try to “catch and score off the bounce.”

Lyle scored 20 points, had 15 rebounds, five assists and four blocks to pace the Bulldogs, 10-3 and ranked No. 6 in Class 3A. Bosse will play Harrison, 12-0 and ranked No. 3 in Class 4A, at 8 p.m. on Saturday for the championship at North.

“Harrison is a great team,” Lyle said. “We’ll prepare for them the way we prepare for any other team.”

Bosse defeated the Warriors last year in the ONB Classic title game, but Harrison went on to tie Castle for the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference regular-season championship.

“There’s no secret the weapons they have and their ability to score,” said Bryan Speer, who guided the Warriors to a 73-49 romp over Mater Dei in Thursday’s second semifinal. “I’ve heard they’re the leading scoring team in the state. We will really have our hands full. Conference games are a grind and have been a big challenge up to now. Playing them Saturday night will be no different. Hopefully, we’ll get ready to go.”

Ernie Duncan led four Harrison players in double figures with 14 points. Everett Duncan had 13, and Stanley Duncan and Robert Barnes posted 12 each.

Tyler Walsh paced Mater Dei (6-5) with 16.

In the opener, Perry Fairrow contributed 18 points and Bo Burkhart 12 to Bosse’s attack.

Blake Simmons led Castle (8-4) with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Kyle Aiton added 13 points.

Individually, Lyle said it was the first time he won the statistical battle against Simmons, as they guarded each other throughout. Lyle, a 6-foot-5 junior, is regarded as one of the top 20 players in the nation in his class. Simmons, a 6-5 senior who led Castle to the Class 4A semistate last season, signed with the University of Evansville.

“The past two years, I don’t think I got over 10 (points) against him,” Lyle said. “I had to let the game come to me and eventually (it did) come to me.”

In the second game, Harrison led 36-26 at the half, then put the game away in the third period.

“I thought we had (good) combinations and things worked,” Speer said.

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