HAMMOND | In the realm of common, angry, flying insects, only bees lose their stingers and die.
Hornets retain theirs and continue stinging.
Now two years removed from the graduation of McDonald’s All-American Branden Dawson, Lew Wallace has yet to go the way of the bee.
After a few swats by Hammond, which led Saturday’s Class 3A sectional final at the Hammond Civic Center 14-13 after a quarter, the Hornets swarmed and pulled away for a 78-58 win and a fourth consecutive sectional championship.
“We were out of rhythm in that first quarter,” second-year Wallace coach Melvin Yancey said. “(Winning four in a row) says a lot about these kids — how hard-nosed they are, how intelligent they are and how hard they work.”
The Hornets (14-7) play in next Saturday’s Class 3A Plymouth Regional.
The Civic Center, a 4,500-seat hallowed hall built in 1938, was hosting a sectional for the first time since 2005. Wallace’s last three sectional titles were celebrated on the floor at Clark.
“It feels great to be sectional champs four years in a row,” said Wallace senior Trevon Boddie, who matched Hammond’s Levon Hamilton with a game-high 25 points.
Boddie, one of six seniors for Wallace, was a junior varsity player as a freshman but dressed and appeared on the roster for sectional games.
He’s been varsity ever since.
On Saturday he scored 18 of his points in the second half, including two of three 3-pointers.
“They gave me some open looks for 3, and I took advantage,” Boddie said.
The game was tied at 17 early in the second when Hornets senior Charles Cooper hit a 3 to spark an 8-0 run from which Wallace never looked back.
Keontae Bridges scrapped, hustled and scored 21 points for Wallace, 13 in the first half, and Charles Cooper had nine points and seven rebounds. Devin Harris changed jerseys at halftime after someone’s blood got on his, then rolled his ankle in the third quarter but played through it, finishing with six points, five assists and a block.
“We’ve been consistent, and we’re improving,” Yancey said. “We played great defense, and we shot well.”
Hammond (11-11) controlled the boards in the first quarter and got second-shot opportunities but could not carry any momentum into the rest of the game, allowing turnovers and an over-reliance on Hamilton to doom them.