FORTVILLE, Ind. -- Noblesville High School boys basketball coach David McCollough told his players what Mt. Vernon's leading scorer C.J. Coleman was going to do, but there was no stopping him.
"When you know a player's favorite move and they can still go to that and they can still beat you on it, that's a heck of a player," McCollough said. "We didn't take it away from him."
Going right off the dribble at will, Coleman scored 22 points to lead the Class 3A No. 1 Marauders to a 46-41 win over the Millers on Saturday night.
With 2:10 left to play, the Millers (11-5) got within 42-41. The Marauders (15-0) missed a shot and Noblesville grabbed the rebound with a chance to take the lead.
But Coleman was right there to grab the ball away and eventually got fouled and made two free throws to put the Marauders ahead, 44-41.
"Everyone had to be strong with the ball and make free throws when they fouled us," Coleman said.
Mt. Vernon reached the bonus late in the third quarter and Coleman hit two free throws to give the Marauders a 35-31 lead. At the start of the fourth, Dan Werner made two more for the 37-31 lead.
But it wasn't long before the Millers made a run.
Sam Philpott, who led Noblesville with 15 points, made two shots early in the fourth quarter and later, with 2:32 left, converted a three-point play to get the Millers within 42-40. He then made a steal and split from the line to get the Millers' deficit to one before Coleman took over.
Coleman got the Marauders off to a good start, too. He scored the first two baskets for Mt. Vernon, which jumped out to a 6-2 lead. Then the Millers went on a 7-0 run to take a lead. Coleman ended the run with a lay-up to get back within a point, 9-8 with 2:12 to play in the first quarter.
"He's just very consistent," Marauders coach Steve Lynch said. "He's got great energy and as he continues to get stronger and become more confident, you can see he's becoming a much better basketball player."
And with just five games left before the start of the postseason, the Marauders welcome the chance to find a way to win late in a game.
"It's taught us toughness and coach has been talking about toughness and that we have to stay tough through this part of the season," Coleman said. "This big game really helped us to let us know how good we really are."