Alan Willis' game-winning one-hander had barely fallen through the net before the Lawrence Central High School basketball team had spotted its next target.
As the underdog Bears celebrated a 44-43 win over host Warren Central in the first round of Class 4A Sectional 10 on Tuesday night, a few players spotted Tech's team sitting in the bleachers above their locker room doors.
"You're next," Lawrence Central senior DaVonte Harris said of the message to Tech, which defeated Lawrence Central 78-65 earlier this season. "Some of them were pointing down. There was a little jawing. We want our revenge."
In the highly anticipated nightcap, seventh-ranked Cathedral ran to a 26-point halftime lead over Lawrence North and held on for a 64-59 win.
Lawrence Central (10-10) will play No. 10 Tech (20-4) at 6 p.m. Friday, followed by Cathedral (20-5) against Roncalli (10-9).
Cathedral was playing without two of its starters, senior guard Mo Evans and junior guard Justin Baker, who are out for disciplinary reasons, likely for the remainder of the season.
It didn't seem to affect Cathedral, which held Lawrence North (16-6) to five first-half field goals and led 36-10 late in the first half.
"It shows how close we are as a team that we don't crack under adversity or pressure," said senior Collin Hartman. "All this adversity has brought us closer as a team."
Sophomore Jalen Coleman led Cathedral with 18 points. Garrett Hall added 11 points and Devin Dixon had 10 for the Irish, who won their 14th consecutive game.
It wasn't easy, however, as Lawrence North pulled within nine points in the third quarter and kept battling in the final minutes, even after leading scorer Basil Smotherman fouled out. The Wildcats got as close as 62-59 on a drive by Daeshon Francis with 15.1 seconds left, but Hartman made two free throws with 9.4 seconds remaining to ice it.
"We knew they'd make a run at us," Cathedral coach Andy Fagan said. "I wish we would have handled that a little better late in the game, but they have a proud basketball tradition and we knew they weren't going to quit. Our guys weren't going to cave, either. We made some big-time plays late."
In the first game, Warren Central (11-9) led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter but were doomed by 21 turnovers. Indiana recruit Devin Davis, who finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds in his final high school game, gave the Warriors a 43-42 lead on a baseline scoop shot with 6 seconds left.
After a timeout, the 5-11 Willis drove the length of the court and scored on a running bank shot over the 6-6 Davis as time expired.
"My coach told me to get the ball and attack the rim," said Willis, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half. "I felt like I got a pretty good look at it. Devin is long, but I was able to get it in."
Harris led Lawrence Central with 15 points.