PANA – It was a play that seniors should make.
And Bryan Hosick and Dathan Berning made it seem easy.
Hosick stole an inbounds pass with just more than a minute to play and quickly passed to Berning, whose 3-pointer gave the Vandals their first lead since the halfway point of the second quarter and propelled the team to a 49-45 win against Hillsboro in first-round regional action.
“Bryan made a nice play. The kid left it hanging out there, and he tipped it away,” said coach Kevin Jackson. “Bryan gave Dathan a nice pass, and that’s a basketball play that should be made.”
Following Berning’s shot, junior Leyton Godoyo secured the final two of his team-high 15 points on a pair of free throws with 27.9 seconds remaining.
Those shots also capped a 9-0 run that third-seeded Vandalia (19-9) used over the final 2:03 of Tuesday’s game.
Down by nine at halftime, the Vandals needed every point in the second half, and a 17-point fourth quarter certainly helped.
Vandalia entered the period down by six, and that margin was cut to three on a pair of free throws from Hosick with 3:17 left in game. But then it seemed that No. 6 Hillsboro (10-17) was going to get back in control.
The Hilltoppers got a second-chance layup from John Walsh a minute later, but that would prove to be their final points of the game.
“It’s a nice win for these guys, because they battled to do it,” Jackson said. “They got down but they kept fighting, and I’m proud of their effort to get it done.”
The teams traded baskets for much of the first quarter, with Vandalia taking a four-point lead after getting two layups – one from Hosick and one from junior Tim Ritchey – off of turnovers in the final minute of the quarter.
Berning added the first shot of the second period to put the Vandals ahead, 17-11, but Hillsboro would used a 17-2 run over the final 6:20 of the quarter to go ahead, 28-19, at halftime.
Godoyo and senior Quenten Austin both made shots in the first minute of the third period, but the Hilltoppers countered enough to maintain at least a five-point lead throughout the quarter.
“Our kids battled and kept playing hard,” Jackson said. “We had some good looks (early in the game), but the shots just didn’t go down.”
Vandalia continued play in the Pana Regional on Wednesday, where it battled No. 2 Carlyle. Results of that game will be posted on www.leaderunion.com on Thursday morning.
The other semifinal game was contested between No. 1 Pana and No. 5 Litchfield, and the winners of both games will meet for the regional title on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 21
at Pana Regional
Points: Godoyo, 15; Hosick, 10; Austin, 9; Berning, 8; Ritchey, 5; Chase Woolsey, 2.
Rebounds: Hosick, 4; Godoyo, 3; Austin, 2; Berning, 2; Ritchey, 1; Woolsey, 1.
Steals: Ritchey, 3; Hosick, 2; Berning, 1.
HHS: DeLuka had 19 points.
Saturday, Feb. 18
On Saturday, the Vandals were unable to contain Pana in the second half of a 64-43 road loss in the regular-season finale.
Vandalia led, 17-13, after the first quarter and trailed by just one at halftime, with seniors Dathan Berning and Bryan Hosick each scoring eight points in the first half.
But in the second half, Vandalia's shots stopped falling, and Pana continued to push its offensive tempo, outscoring the Vandals, 36-16.
For the game, Vandalia shot just 30.9 percent (13-of-42) from the field, including 16 missed shots in the second half.
Saturday, Feb. 18
Points: Berning, 10; Wade Cowger, 8; Hosick, 8; Quenten Austin, 6; Leyton Godoyo, 4; Tim Ritchey, 3; Michael Wells, 2; Chase Woolsey, 2.
Record: 18-9 (7-6 SCC)
Pana: McMillen had 19 points.