Following a thrilling, overtime victory in first round action of the IHSA Class 1A Regional Tournament, the Fighting Cardinals returned to Albion Wednesday evening to take part in the semifinal round of action against the top seed, Woodlawn Cardinals.
NCOE found themselves in a defensive battle in the first quarter of play and were able to muster six points to claim the five points advantage, 6-1, when the buzzer sounded. Second quarter action would find Woodlawn picking up their offensive game somewhat and tightening their defense even more as they went on an 11-2 run to claim their first lead of the game and head to the locker room with a four point advantage over the Fighting Cardinals, 12-8.
Following intermission, the defense remained at a high level for both teams causing the offense to really work for a good shot. All of this kept the scoring low but the Cardinals of Woodlawn would manage to edge the Fighting Cardinals once more, 9-7, to extend their lead to six points with just one quarter of play remaining. This fourth and final stanza started with the same sluggish pace as all had witness throughout but with time winding down, the Fighting Cardinals made one last run. This final burst of energy would find NCOE closing the gap to only trail by two points with just 6.2 seconds remaining. At this time, the Fighting Cardinals would in bound the ball to Ty Money. Money would find Joe Melton at the top of the key with less than two seconds remaining. At this time, Melton would turn and launch the last second shot which would ricochet off the backboard hitting the rim and falling just shy bringing the Fighting Cardinals season to a close at 23-8.
Scoring for the Fighting Cardinals was led by Joe Melton with 10 points. Others scoring for NCOE were Ty Money eight points, CJ Richardson seven, and Trey Simmons five points.
1 2 3 4 Final
NCOE 6 2 7 15 30
Woodlawn 1 11 9 11 32