The Mechanicsburg High School girls basketball team takes pride in its school-record 23 victories. But the Indians won’t be satisfied with it, at least not for awhile anyway.
A season to remember ended in heartbreaking fashion Wednesday with a 47-44 loss to Tri-Village in the Division IV regional semifinal at Tippecanoe High School. Mechanicsburg never led in the game, but they came close after erasing an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots (25-2), ranked No. 5 in the final AP state poll, leaned on their big-game experience to pull out the win. This is their fourth straight regional appearance and they reached the state semifinals last season. Mechanicsburg (23-4) was making its third regional appearance in school history and first since 1990.
Tri-Village held a 40-29 lead with 6:37 left in the fourth, but struggled when Mechanicsburg cranked up the defensive pressure. The Indians rode a 13-2 run, highlighted by two 3-pointers from Jamie Dodane (game-high 17 points) and one by sister Brooke Dodane, to tie it 42-42 with 3:14 to play. But they went the next two minutes without scoring.
“I think we caught them by surprise with our comeback,” Mechanicsburg coach Christie Dodane said. “I really thought we were going to win at that point because we had them running. But they put the shots in and we didn’t.”
The biggest came with 38 seconds left. Tri-Village’s Ecko Brown gave her team a 44-42 lead with 1:47 left and the Indians failed to answer. Working the clock down, the Patriots found Lexie Bruner alone in the corner. Instead of dribbling off more time she let loose a three-pointer in front of the Patriots’ bench. She drained her only basket of the game for the 47-42 advantage.
“Lexie Bruner, struggling all night I’m telling her how much I believe in her every single time I’m taking her off the floor and every single time I’m putting her back on the floor,” Tri-Village coach Brad Gray said. “I’m telling her she’s going to hit one. She picked a good time to finally knock it down.”
Shaye Thomas led the Patriots with 13 points.
Tri-Village plays the winner of Fort Loramie (23-3) and Marion Local (19-7) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the regional final. Fort Loramie and Marion Local play their semifinal game 7 tonight at Tipp.