SHELBY — Mansfield Christian went down swinging.
The 13th-seeded Flames put a scare in top-seeded Lucas before the Cubs righted the ship in the second half of a 69-43 win in the Division IV sectional semifinals Tuesday at Shelby High School.
The Cubs (22-1) jumped out to a 21-10 first-quarter lead but the Flames (1-18) refused to go quietly. MCS outscored Lucas 11-7 in the second quarter and trailed just 28-21 at the half.
“We came out and did what we do. We played good defense and were shooting layups and getting out in transition,” Lucas coach Taylor Iceman said. “Then, in the second quarter, we got away from doing the things we do best.
“We thought it was going to be easy all night and to Mansfield Christian’s credit, they did’t give up. They kept playing hard and made it a game.”
The Cubs opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run to regain control. A Riley Gossom layup with 6:27 to play in the period gave Lucas a 36-21 lead.
A 6-foot-3 combo guard, Gossom had a big night for the Cubs. The junior scored a game-high 26 points and connected on four 3-pointers.
“He’s a really good player and when he’s making jump shots he’s really hard to guard,” Iceman said. “Just having Riley and Logan (Niswander) on the floor together, that makes such a difference. People have to defend both of them and they both benefit from it.
“Thankfully, Riley was knocking down shots tonight because we didn’t have too many people who were making shots.”
Niswander backed Gossom with 15 points, 11 coming after the half. Ethan Wallace added six.
Clay Reynolds led MCS with 12 points. Logan Cyphers and Gavin Kiliany each added 10.
“Lucas is an awesome team, but the message we sent to our guys is we have nothing to lose,” Mansfield Christian coach Adam Parrott said. “They are well-coached and very talented. It will be fun to see how far they can go.”
The Flames will lose Reynolds, Kiliany and Lance Banks to graduation.
“I’m really proud of our three seniors and how they played tonight,” Parrott said. “They represented us well tonight.”
Lucas will play No. 12 Lakeside Danbury for a sectional championship at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Shelby.
“It will be nice come Friday because Danbury hasn’t played,” Iceman said. “They will have to deal with some of those jitters and we have them out of our system now.”