Trojans battle back to slip past Giants

INDIANAPOLIS

Boys basketball teams on the short end of 15-0 scoring runs at Ben Davis don’t normally experience an enjoyable ride home.

Center Grove did Friday night after rallying for a 59-53 overtime victory.

Led by sophomore guard Spencer Piercefield’s 19 points and twin-17s — points and rebounds — from 6-foot-8 sophomore post Trayce Jackson-Davis, the Trojans notched their first Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference win of the season.

Now 1-2 in league play, coach Zach Hahn’s squad is 8-5 overall.

“In the first half we got great shots. Our 50-percent 3-point shooters and getting catch-and-shoot shots, but they weren’t falling,” Hahn said. “We kept telling the kids to stay the course. We can’t turn the ball over and give them easy baskets, and we’ve got to take great shots every time down.

“We really did that in the second half. I really thought Trayce kind of asserted himself as the guy that kind of took the game over. He rebounded like crazy, he defended. But I’m really proud because I saw a collective effort from everyone.”

Senior swingman Travis Roehling and sophomore point guard Ben Nicoson each tallied 10 points for Center Grove.

Balanced scoring aside, another big factor was the Trojans not committing a turnover in either the third or fourth quarter after doing so nine times in the first half.

As for that Giants’ scoring flurry, it occurred to start the second quarter, making the score a seemingly cozy 23-8 in favor of the home team. Still down 13 at the half, Center Grove pieced together a 22-point third period to pull within six.

Jackson-Davis tied the score for the first time since the end of the opening stanza when his old-fashioned three-point sequence made it 44-44 with 3:40 remaining in regulation.

Roehling’s reverse layup off a sweet Jackson-Davis feed from the top of the key put the Trojans ahead, 46-44 at 1:37. But two free throws by Ben Davis guard Joshua Brewer with 11 seconds left sent the game to overtime.

Nicoson’s trey from the right wing 46 seconds into the extra session gave Center Grove the lead for good. The Trojans kept the Giants at a distance by making 8 of 10 free throws in the final 1:14.

“We weren’t going to freak out,” said Roehling of his team’s 13-point halftime deficit (25-12). “We’ve been down before at half and come back. We know what it feels like. We just needed to stay confident, stay poised and not turn the ball over.

“Coach Hahn told us to go out there and shoot with confidence, and I think we came out the second half and did exactly that.”

The win broke a five-game losing streak to Ben Davis — the most-recent victory taking place here, 85-70, during the 2010-11 season.

Center Grove hosts Roncalli tonight at 7:30 p.m. Ben Davis also is back at this evening when it welcomes Decatur Central.

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.