HUNTINGTON – As Concordia Lutheran and Andrean prepared for overtime in Saturday's Class 3A Semistate, senior Brian Gremaux was not happy with himself.
Seconds earlier, the forward had missed a potential game-winning shot on an inbounds pass as time was expiring in regulation.
“(Andrean) took their big man out and I thought I had a little bit of a mismatch there so they went to me,” said Gremaux about the miss. “I missed it and I knew I had to come through in the overtime and help my team out.”
Gremaux bounced back quickly, scoring seven of his 13 points in overtime and grabbing three huge rebounds as the seventh-ranked Cadets secured the program's first state championship appearance with a 68-63 victory over No. 3 Andrean a Huntington North High School.
Gremaux's overtime performance was not the only example of resiliency from the Cadets on Saturday.
Andrean held an eight-point lead with just over four minutes remaining in regulation before the Cadets stormed back. A 7-0 run capped by a D.J. McCall "and-1" brought Concordia back to within a point, but it did not take the lead until a Gremaux layup with 1:55 left put the Cadets in front by one.
Andrean's Nick Davidson hit one-of-two free throws with 1:45 left to tie the game. Concordia (23-4) then moved the ball around the court until eight seconds remained before calling a timeout, setting up the play for Gremaux.
With Andrean big man Skylar Moss on the bench, Gremaux got the entry pass and went to the hoop with just seconds remaining, but missed, sending the game into overtime.
“After that missed shot, I went back to the bench and put my head down,” Gremaux said. “The guys told me to put my head back up. I knew what I had to do and we came through.”
The Cadets, without Thomas Starks who fouled out in regulation, persevered in extra time.
“I've never had a team like this,” said Concordia coach Josh Eggold when asked about his team's resiliency. “I felt like every timeout and every huddle we had there was a belief that was there in each other.”
The Cadets never relented with their defense, forcing Andrean to turn the ball over an uncharacteristic 19 times. Entering Saturday, the Fighting 59ers had averaged 13 turnovers per contest.
“That was one of the strengths we put on the scouting report, that they are such a great ball control team and they take care of it,” Eggold said. “To turn them over that many times is a big tale of the game.”
It was offensive balance that led the way for Concordia as four players finished in double figures, led by McCall's 20 points. Marq Rogers finished with 15 points, with Gremaux adding 13 and Starks 10.
Andrean (22-4) was led by Sam Toporski's 20 points while Collin Wojcik added 17.
Concordia will take on No. 2 Greensburg in the Class 3A State Championship next Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Pirates defeated top-ranked Mt. Vernon 62-37 on Saturday. Tip-off for the state title game is scheduled for 6 p.m.
CONCORDIA LUTHERAN 68, ANDREAN 63 (OT)
Concordia 11 19 5 19 14-68
Andrean 15 10 17 12 9-63
Concordia: McCall 20, Harris 3, Gross 7, Rogers 15, Starks 10, Gremaux 13.
Andrean: Davidson 10, Toporski 20, Wojcik 17, Moss 16.