Greensburg — It was as heartbreaking as any game could turn out to be.
Friday night’s outcome in the South Decatur Sectional 60 Semifinal was not the result that the South Decatur boys basketball team had expected.
The second half had a championship feel to it, a feeling that South was going to pull off a thrilling comeback after trailing by double digits.
However, a trio of Rising Sun Shiners kept the Cougars tamed in a 69-65 South loss in the third game of the tournament.
South senior Taylor Kopplin needed to step up to give his team a chance, and the two-year starter delivered. Kopplin scored 26 points (four off his career high) to lead six other scorers into the extra session. The school’s all-time 3-point shooter with 111 triples, Kopplin converted a 3-point play to tie the game at 47-all early in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 18-4 in the first quarter, the Cougars (4-17) chiseled away at a 20-6 deficit at the end of the first eight minutes. All five South starters scored in the second quarter, with senior Chris Johannigman’s seven points leading the way. Junior Sam Studler scored five points to help the designated visiting team trim the Shiners’ advantage to four points.
Rising Sun led 34-27 at the break.
The Cougars opened the third quarter with a 13-6 run, fueled by a score from senior Devin Taylor and six points from Studler. After Rising Sun failed to capitalize off a steal, Kopplin sank his fourth trey of the night. South suddenly found itself down just two points with 3:50 left in the third. Studler struck again, tying the game at 40-all, a trend that continued through the remainder of regulation. The teams once again exchanged baskets. Devin Taylor forced another tie with a layup, making it 44-all with 33 seconds left.
The Shiners, however, went up 47-44 with a 3-point play to end the third.