Trinity Lutheran outscored Orleans 26-13 in the fourth quarter to roll to a 55-34 win Saturday night in the championship game of the Springs Valley Class A Sectional.
The sectional title was Trinity’s second in four years as head coach Aaron Rudzinski was an assistant coach on the 2011 championship team.
“It’s unbelievable to do it again against the same team,” Rudzinski said. “We’ve worked hard the past three years. We’ve been building for this moment.
“We basically had to start over after we lost those seniors. We had guys come in as sophomores, and we got a little bit better each year and it’s all culminating here at this point with a sectional championship.”
Toby VanLiew made a 3-point shot from mid-court at the buzzer to make it a 19-18 score at the half in favor of Orleans.
The Bulldogs missed their first seven shots of the third quarter and finished 1-for-9 and were outscored 11-2 during that time. Daniel Horton had five points to lead the Cougars in that quarter.
The Cougars held a 29-21 lead going into the fourth period. After the Bulldogs closed the gap to 31-25 at 5:42, the Cougars closed on a 24-9 run.
Craig Stuckwisch scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and 19 for the game. He made 9 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter, and the Cougars were 17-26 for the night, while Orleans made 5 of 7.
The first half was a battle of the defenses as neither team was able to get many uncontested shots.
The Bulldogs, behind three baskets from Burton Gerkin, led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Luke Stuckwisch, Craig Stuckwisch and Keegan Rebber made 3-point baskets for the Cougars in the first period.
Each team made two field goals in the second period and Orleans held a 19-18 lead at the break.
Trinity made 7-of-15 shots from the floor in the first half, while Orleans shot 9-for-20. For the game, the Cougars made 15 of 32 field goals and the Bulldogs made 13 of 43.
Luke Stuckwisch added 11 points, while Horton had nine points and seven rebounds. Steven Phillips was high scorer for Orleans (16-7) with 11 points.
Trinity will take a record of 16-6 into the Loogootee Regional on Saturday.