At the five-minute mark of the second quarter Friday, there had already been seven lead changes between Center Grove and Southport.
But a closely contested boys basketball game quickly shifted into blowout mode as the visiting Trojans turned up the defensive pressure to scored 24 consecutive points in a 70-37 victory.
Now 3-0, Center Grove impressed despite being abandoned by its perimeter shooting touch (8 of 26 from behind the 3-point line).
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Senior forward Joey Klaasen posted a career-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds; 6-foot-9 junior center Trayce Jackson-Davis nearly finished with a triple-double by dominating the interior to the tune of 19 points, 11 boards and eight blocked shots.
“We started pressuring them and started getting transition points,” Klaasen said. “We always crash the boards and block out, but when I get the rebound I’m starting to take it in transition so we can have the guards up the court to kick it to them rather than them coming back to get the ball.”
The game’s turning point occurred once the Cardinals went ahead 17-16 on a basket from sophomore forward Chaz Hinds.
Klaasen got the scoring blitz started for Center Grove with a score down low, followed by a putback by 6-6 junior backup Lucas Doyle. Another reserve, senior Noah Gillard, splashed a triple from the left baseline and Jackson-Davis produced a hoop and two free throws.
In all, five Trojans players contributed to the run of points that basically put the game away.
Center Grove coach Zach Hahn was pleased with the way his squad performed defensively. The Trojans limited Southport to 13-of-41 shooting from the field (.317) and dominated the glass with a 35-14 rebounding mismatch.
The Trojans were perfect at the free-throw stripe, making all 14 attempts. Ten of Hahn’s players found their way into the scoring column.
“Again, I think our versatility is our strength,” Hahn said. “We’ve got guys who aren’t just shooters anymore. We’ve got guys that will put the ball on the floor.
“What really set the tone was us defensively starting in the second quarter. We were pretty laid-back, easy-going, and Southport kind of did what they wanted to us. They zoned us, obviously, and took us out of our offense and our rhythm.”
It was at this point the Trojans began pressuring the basketball and ultimately turn the game around.
Center Grove, which has won its three games this season by margins of 19, 26 and 33 points, returns home this evening to face Bloomington North. The Cardinals (0-2) travel to defending Class 4A state champion Ben Davis.