Feb. 20—FISHERS — The Zionsville boys basketball team was in control of their own destiny on Friday night on the road at Fishers.
The Eagles had possession with a one-point lead in the final minute, and a win over the Tigers would give the Eagles a share of the Hoosier Crossroads Conference title.
But in a blink of an eye, that chance went away. Fishers got a steal with 18 seconds left, then scored on a putback with 4.6 to go and held on to win 40-39.
"We battled and I thought we played the game we wanted to play," Zionsville head coach J.R. Howell said. "We talked about second-chance points with them and live-ball turnovers and in the last 18 seconds of the game those hurt us. We were right there, and unfortunately the ball didn't bounce our way. We have to remember this feeling and learn from it."
Fishers was only called for one foul in the first 14 minutes of the second half.
They were giving fouls in the final two minutes, but still had two to give when the the Eagles went to inbound under the basket with 18 seconds to play.
Zionsville looked for Nick Richart down low, but the Tigers did a good job of getting in the passing lane and forcing a turnover.
"We wanted to get the best look and Nick was open," Howell said. "They did a good job all game on denying Nick. We had 11 turnovers and probably half of them were passes to Nick. They made a good play of getting in front of him and getting a hand on it."
After a timeout, the Tigers missed a lay-up, but got the putback with 4.6 to go.
Zionsville got a decent look for Logan Imes at the buzzer, but it didn't fall.
Johnathan MacAbee led the team with 12 points, and Imes added 10.
Howell said you could see in the locker room how much the team wanted this game, but knows they could see the Tigers again in the sectional.
"We will see them again," Howell said. "Don't know when, but we will see them and we have to remember this feeling. We had the game, were in a good spot and just couldn't get that last push. We have to remember this feeling heading into sectional week."
The Eagles conclude the regular season on Saturday night at home against Tech.
Howell said the key for his team is keeping the right mindset heading into the post-season.
"The big thing is making sure we keep a positive mindset," Howell said. "When you look at the sectional opponents, they have all been close games or you look at Westfield and Carmel — those were so early in the year. We want to get a win tomorrow and get ready to go for the sectional."
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.