TERRE HAUTE — Brown County’s game and season were on the line Friday night, and Eagles junior Collin Hoskins was at his absolute best.
Edgewood had climbed back into his West Vigo Sectional semifinal game with a pair of 3-pointers to close the lead to 40-39 with 2:30 remaining in the final quarter.
Hoskins had seen enough.
He scored five of the Eagles’ next seven points as they built a 47-39 lead. The Mustangs, who had worked so hard to pull close, were crushed.
The Eagles finished out with four more free throws and an 11-10 run for a 51-39 victory.
Brown County now moves into tonight’s championship game at 7 against ???????.
Hoskins finished with a game-high 23 points and 16 of those came in the second half.
“I just kept on attacking the rim,” Hoskins said. “Coach (Chuck Hutchins) kept telling us to play our game and not to shoot as many 3’s because it wasn’t effective, to keep attacking inside.
“It’s a great win and now we have to focus on the finals.”
“Down the stretch, we were able to be smart with the ball and get a couple of good looks,” Hutchins said. “Obviously, we know we want the ball in Hoskins’ hands and I thought he made a couple of plays that stretched that lead out for us.
“It’s no secret that is where we want the ball. He did great things with it.
Hutchins said his star player has been solid all year at critical moments.
“Collin has been that way for us all year,” Hutchins said. “He’s been that guy. He did it.”
The Eagles (15-7) lost a key player on earlier in the week when senior point guard Evan Rose suffered an ACL injury during practice.
Even with the devastating news, the Eagles found a way to come together and play with aggression and emotion for their senior teammate, who is likely lost for the rest of the tournament.
“We all came together because it is his final year with us and we want to win it all for him,” Hoskins said.
Matt Redmond finished with 11 points and Matt Adams added nine.
The Eagles played solid throughout, except for a lull in the second quarter. The Mustangs (12-11) turned to their big man, Brayden Patton, and he scored nine points in the quarter to give them a 22-20 halftime lead. Patton finished with 18 points.
“(Patton) improved a lot over the course of the season,” Hutchins said. “He was able to get to the line and fouled out our big kid (Austin Kritzer). He was a strong presence for them tonight.”
The Mustangs went to Patton probably a little bit too much down the stretch as the Eagles finally found ways to stop him defensively. The Mustangs committed 10 second-half turnovers, included four straight to start the third quarter.
The Eagles took advantage and went on an 11-4 run to lead 31-26. The Eagles never surrendered the lead for the rest of the game.
“We were able to string together many stops after they made their run,” Hutchins said. “We were able to get in transition and I think that really turned the tide in our favor.”