Photos by Caitlyn Brady // TIGER POUNCE: Fishers junior Willie Jackson puts up a floater during the third quarter of the Tigers semifinal win over Anderson on Friday. Fishers advances to the Class 4A Sectional 8 championship with the 72-58 victory against Anderson.
Photos by Caitlyn Brady // TIGER POUNCE: Fishers junior Willie Jackson puts up a floater during the third quarter of the Tigers semifinal win over Anderson on Friday. Fishers advances to the Class 4A Sectional 8 championship with the 72-58 victory against Anderson.
There was no comeback for the Indians this time.

Three days after clawing out a double-overtime win against Noblesville in the first round of the Class 4A Sectional 8 tournament, Anderson wasn’t able to break through against Fishers.

The Tigers pounced on the Indians from the jump and held on late to earn a spot in tonight’s championship game with a 72-58 win Friday at The Mill at Noblesville.

“I thought it was the best that we’ve done at paying attention to the game plan,” said Fishers head coach Matt Moore. “We got the ball (inside), and it kind of set the tone of how we tried to play … I thought our guys did a good job of playing through the traps … and I thought that was key.”

After a sluggish start to the first quarter, where six of the first eight points scored came at the free throw line, Anderson and Fishers exchanged a pair of baskets each with Brandon Haralson and JoMel Boyd scoring for the Indians, and Jeremy Szilagyi and Willie Jackson countering for the Tigers. The quarter ended with Fishers holding a 12-9 edge.

The Tigers extended their lead on the back of a 7-0 run in the latter half of the second quarter thanks to a free throw from Bryce Gee, a basket and free throw from Josiah Matthews and a 3-pointer from Szilagyi. Anderson managed 10 points in the quarter, with TyJae Rayford contributing a 3-ball and a pair of free throws and Keyounis Woods adding a pair of baskets. Fishers went into the locker room with a double-digit lead at 30-19.

Boyd kept the Tribe in the game in the second half, scoring 10 of his game-high 29 in the third. Fishers Terry Hicks connected on a trio of baskets and two free throws in the quarter, which ended with the Tigers holding a 45-35 lead.

Anderson closed the gap to six points in the fourth, but unlike its game Tuesday against Noblesville, the Indians couldn’t fight all the way back. Szilagyi went on a personal 12-0 run -- two field goals, a pair of 3’s and two free throws – that sealed a Tigers win. Szilagyi finished with a team-high 22 points and eared the praise of his coach.

“I think he does a great job as a senior,” Moore said. “I took him out in the first quarter, and I told him that, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get you many looks in our … and he’s going to have to find gaps and make plays.’ I thought he settled into that and read what the defense gave him. He’s a guy that if you leave him open he’s going to make shots. He’s one of the two or three best shooters I’ve ever coached in 16 years … he’s done it all year and did it in a big spot tonight.”

As a team, the Tigers came up clutch late, making all 11 of their free throws in the final stanza. Matthews, Hicks and Jackson joined Szilagyi in double-figures with 15, 13 and 10, respectively.

“We’ve been in a lot of games this year -- we’ve lost 11 -- and eight of those were by five points or fewer,” Moore said. “We’ve been in a lot of games where it comes down to those last three minutes, and I think our guys have learned how critical those free throws are.”

Fishers (12-11) plays Carmel (17-7) in tonight’s Sectional 8 final. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at The Mill.