Final scores can be deceiving.
Take Monday night’s Mid-Hoosier Conference boys basketball game between North Decatur and Edinburgh.
The scoreboard at the final buzzer read Edinburgh 58, North Decatur 45. The 13-point differential made it appear to be a relatively easy win for the host Lancers.
In fact, the game was tight for the first 25 minutes, and it took a big fourth quarter from Edinburgh to build the final margin.
The teams went into the final quarter tied at 37-all, the sixth tie of the game. Ninety seconds into the period, Lancers junior Matt Heagy scored off a steal and was fouled, marking the 13th lead change of the night.
He knocked down his free throw to put Edinburgh up three.
North Decatur’s Evan Wallpe hit one of two free throws a minute later to bring the Chargers within two points.
Bob Simpson answered on Edinburgh’s next possession, converting a twisting layup in traffic, drawing the foul and hitting the free throw to stretch the lead to five at 43-38. The Lancers never looked back from there.
Edinburgh hit 5 of 8 shots from the field, 11 of 13 free throws and forced six North Decatur turnovers in a 21-point fourth quarter to earn its second conference win of the season.
Coach Drew Glentzer said the Lancers, who had not played since beating Whiteland on Jan. 18 in the Johnson County Tournament, came out flat early, but gave the effort he asked of them late.
“I kept telling the kids whoever made the most hustle plays, whoever got to the free throw line the most, that’s who I thought was going to win the game,” he said.
“I thought they played with a little more intensity when the game was on the line. We had a lot of different kids make a lot of different plays at big times.”
Glentzer added that building the lead early in the fourth quarter gave the Lancers more options on both ends of the court.
“I thought if we could get a lead of a couple possessions, we could get more aggressive on defense. And that would allow us to spread it out a little more on offense and give us a few more opportunities to drive it,” Glentzer said.
The Lancers (7-3, 2-1 Mid-Hoosier) shot just 40.4 percent from the field for the game (19 of 47). But they helped their cause by only turning the ball over five times, well below their season average of 22 per game.
The teams were tied at 13-all at the end of the first quarter, and Edinburgh led 26-24 at halftime.
Sophomore Collin Hoskins led the Lancers with 18 points. Joining him in double figures were Heagy, who scored 17, and Simpson, who added 11 points.
Wallpe was huge inside for the Chargers. The 6-foot-3 sophomore scored 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds. The rest of the Chargers (3-7, 3-2), though, combined to hit just 7 of 25 shots from the field (28 percent).
The Lancers travel to Morristown on Friday night.