GARY | Unfortunately for Times No. 5 Lew Wallace, it was deja vu all over again.
For the second straight year, Chicago Carver defeated the Hornets on a last-second shot. This time, it was a layup by Michael Howell with six seconds left that gave the Challengers a 73-72 win over the Hornets.
Lew Wallace coach Renaldo Thomas said his Class 3A defending state runner-up Hornets needed to "show up" for their home opener Friday night.
"We didn't show up last game," Thomas said, referring to the 53-38 loss to Whitney Young on Nov. 27. "We need to show up and be ready tonight."
The Challengers (4-1) came out on fire, spotting the Hornets a 2-0 lead before they went on a 13-0 run. After a basket by Laron Counce broke the run, Carver's Devante Wilkins nailed a 3-pointer to make the lead 16-4.
"They were playing harder than we were," Thomas said. "Early, they wanted it more."
The Challengers used the trap to force 15 first-half turnovers. They were able to stretch the lead to 10 points, 34-24, before the Hornets scored the last five points of the half to close the gap to 34-29 at halftime.
Lew Wallace (1-2) turned up the heat in the third quarter behind the hot shooting of Maurice Thurmond, who buried three straight 3-pointers to put the Hornets back in front 39-37.
The game went back and forth with seven lead changes as both Dawson and Aaron Arbam warmed up. Then, with 28 seconds left, Arbam put in a jumper to give Lew Wallace a 72-71 lead.
The Challengers took the inbound pass and fed the ball to Howell, who worked his way through the paint and made the lay-up.
Both Arbam and Branden Dawson tried to get shots off before the buzzer but nothing fell.
Arbam finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Dawson had 24 points and 16 boards.