DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
It was the battle of the winless teams in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference.
Something had to give, and it was visiting Center Grove.
The Trojans fell into a hole early en route to a 63-47 loss to Lawrence Central on Thursday night. The Bears improved to 7-12 and 1-6 in the MIC.
Trojans coach Zach Hahn said the Bears were more aggressive.
“Loose balls fell their way. They had guys on the floor,” said Hahn, whose team’s record dropped to 9-9 and 0-6 in the MIC. “We didn’t make shots.
“That’s a recipe for disaster.”
The Trojans trailed 18-8 after the first quarter and 30-15 at halftime.
“We got out-competed,” Hahn said. “The effort was good. The focus wasn’t good. If we get beat by one or get beat by 20, it’s frustrating.
“I don’t like to lose, and our team doesn’t like to lose.”
Trojans senior guard Michael Benkert picked up his third foul with two-plus minutes left in the third quarter, and his fourth foul about one minute later and had to leave the game.
Hahn said Benkert’s foul problems weren’t really an factor.
Benkert sank three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. His second one cut the Bears’ lead to 52-42, but the Trojans couldn’t get any closer. Benkert finished with a team-high 19 points.
Center Grove was 14 of 44 from the field overall.
The Trojans, who host Mooresville on Tuesday night, will close their MIC season at North Central on Feb. 20.
“All you can do is get ready for the next game and prepare,” Hahn said. “Mooresville is playing its best basketball right now. It’s going to be a big challenge.
“I’d like to see us rebound from this loss.”
Bears junior Mehki Biffle was the top scorer for the Bears with 18 points.
“Our point guard Daveon Bell does a good job of finding everybody,” Biffle said. “I love playing with these guys. They’re very coachable and team players. They got me the ball and tried to make things happen for our team. It feels real good to get the first MIC win after all the losses we’ve suffered.
“We had brutal start, but going into the sectional we should be fine now that we’re getting some wins.”
Junior guard Kyle Guy, who has committed to Virginia, added 16 points. Guy was 5 of 9 from the field and hit all six free throws.
“This was a great team effort,” Lawrence Central first-year coach Al Gooden said. “We’re getting better.”
The Bears opened the season with a seven-game losing streak.