LAPEL — Cass guard Blake Hadley remembers watching the Kings win a state championship in 2003. Barely. A little bit. It’s pretty foggy.
“I remember going to the state game in ‘03,” Hadley said. He thinks he was in kindergarten at the time. Pressed for any specific memory of the venue, the people, it was too faint to remember. And yet, it made a big impression on a youngster who would later wear No. 14 for the Kings.
“I just remember playing in my backyard and always wanting to be those guys, and here we are in the final four,” Hadley said.
The Cass boys basketball squad beat Tipton 55-47 Saturday night in the championship game of the Class 2A Lapel Regional, marking the squad’s first regional championship since the 2002-03 squad won the state championship. That team went 26-0. This team is 22-2 and is riding a 20-game winning streak that has seen them to next Saturday’s semistate.
The current Kings don’t have to worry about calling up memories from 2003, they’re making their own in the here and now.
Cass broke free from a 27-all tie at halftime with a strong third quarter and then held Tipton at arm’s length for the rest of the game after rocketing into the lead with a 16-0 run in the third and fourth quarters.
Trailing 33-29, Cass guard Austin Keisling took a defensive rebound coast to coast for a hoop to cut the lead to a deuce with 3:12 left in the quarter. Then, with two minutes left, Hadley drilled a 3-pointer to put the Kings in the lead. The King train kept rolling: Evan Ohman scored inside off a Keisling feed, then hit two free throws, and pushed the lead to 40-33 when Keisling rescued a nervous possession by dicing through the Cass defense and feeding Victor DeJesus for a deuce at the buzzer.