After building a 19-point lead with 4:25 to play, it was not an easy task for No. 12-seed Antioch to put away No. 5 Alcott College Prep Wednesday night in the Carmel Catholic Class 3A regional semifinals.
A 3-pointer by Alcott's Naz Davis cut the lead to 63-56 with 1:33 still to play. But the Sequoits held on down the stretch to pull out a 67-56 victory and advanced to Friday's 7 p.m. championship game against No. 4 host Carmel.
It will be the second straight year that Antioch (9-17) and Carmel (13-16) have met for a regional title after the Sequoits beat Carmel at home last season.
Alcott finished 16-5.
There were a lot of ups and downs to Wednesday's game for Antioch, as the Sequoits built an early 15-5 lead only to see the Wildcats go on an 18-6 run to take a brief 23-21 lead early in the second quarter.
Antioch went into halftime with a 31-28 lead as senior forward Reece Eldridge scored 12 of his season-high 21 points in the first half.
The Sequoits started the second half like they started the first quarter. They jumped all over Alcott with a 3-pointer by senior Logan Weber and an inside basket by Eldridge, giving Antioch its biggest lead at 42-30 just 2:52 into the third quarter.
Not known for his scoring, Weber wound up having a huge offensive game with 14 of his season- and game-high 23 points in the second half to help the Sequoits build their commanding lead as the second half wore on.
"The difference was the intensity we played with (in the second half). We couldn't be stopped," said Weber, who fouled out with 2:24 to play. "If we play the same way we did tonight (on Friday), we can win another regional like last year."
A technical foul on the Alcott coach led to a free throw by Antioch's Andrew Hare. That tied the Sequoits' biggest lead at 49-36 after three quarters.
A 3-pointer by Weber boosted the lead to 61-42, before a 14-2 run by the Wildcats put a scare in Antioch down the stretch.
The Sequoits missed the front end of two 1-and-1 free throws late in the game. But a huge inside hoop by senior Ben Gutke sealed the victory with 35 seconds remaining.
"We moved the ball and we had 17 assists, and Weber's senior leadership was great, even with four fouls we kept him out there," said Antioch coach Jim White. "Eldridge was consistently taking it to the basket which we need him to do, and we talked about staying strong with the ball and having good decision-making."
Alcott was led by Davis and sophomore teammate Khaleb Rouse with 15 points each. Junior Terrance Craft added 9 points for the Wildcats.
Antioch sophomore Daniel Filippone hit double figures with 10 points. Hare and Gutke scored 7 and 6 points, respectively.
"(Alcott) hit some big shots and we made some mistakes, but we were able to keep them at bay and get the victory," said Eldridge. "We need to come out with the same intensity Friday, and if we play smart we can come out with the win."