The Lipan Indians are holding on to playoff hopes after defeating Strawn at home Friday, 70-62.
The Indians improved to 11-16 overall, and more important to 3-4 in District 17-A. While their hopes are admittedly slim at reaching the postseason, they are nonetheless hopes.
Lipan has not missed the playoffs since 1990. In each of the past 11 seasons they have reached the regional tournament.
But this season has been a struggle for the perennial powers. They came in with very little varsity experience and the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment placed them in their toughest district in years.
The six-team district includes three district champions from a year ago, Lipan, Gorman and Huckabay. Lingleville, which finished second in its district last season, reached the regional finals.
Friday, however, the Indians were not to be denied. they fell behind Strawn early, 20-12 after the first quarter, but fought back to take a 35-31 halftime lead.
The see-saw battle had Strawn reclaiming the lead 48-46 as the final period got under way, but Lipan ended the game with a 24-14 run.
Kyle Mercer led Lipan with 22 points, including five of their nine 3-pointers. He also grabbed eight rebounds.
Trevor Hedeman scored 14 withi eight assists, and Tanner Richardson posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Indians were playing at Gordon last night, needing a win to stay alive in the chase for the postseason.
Strawn 20 11 17 14 – 62
Lipan 12 23 11 24 – 70
Lipan (11-16, 3-4 in 17-A) scoring – Kyle Mercer 22, Trevor Hedeman 14, Tanner Richardson 13, Blake Williams 9, Hunter Hightower 6, Brady Nelson 2, Joel Rice 2, Joey McFadden 2.
3-pointers – Lipan 9-20 (Mercer 5, Hedeman 2, Hightower 2), Strawn 7-24.
Rebounds – Lipan 45 (Richardson 11, Williams 11, Mercer 8), Strawn 31.
Free throws – Lipan 11-23, Strawn 7-21.