Pike didn’t have an answer for Center Grove’s Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Few teams do.
But the 6-foot-9 junior center’s teammates gave the visiting Red Devils their share of fits Friday, too.
Spencer Piercefield hit a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers en route to 14 points, and the Trojans’ stifling man-to-man defense gave Pike problems early. Throw in Jackson-Davis’ 21 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots, and it was more than enough for Center Grove to ease to a 55-38 Metropolitan Conference victory.
Story continues below gallery
The win improved the Trojans to 5-0, their first 5-0 start since the 2011-12 season, and gave them a win against Pike (1-2) for the first time since 1996 (the teams didn’t play each other from 1998 through 2012, though).
Center Grove led 42-36 with 4:25 to play, but scored the game’s next 13 points after Trojans coach Zach Hahn called a timeout, briefly benched Jackson-Davis, who had just picked up his fourth foul, and installed a spread offense.
Center Grove got a free throw, a layup, a Jackson-Davis alley-oop dunk, and another layup and six more free throws out of the offense.
Jackson-Davis only scored two points during that run, but did most of his offensive damage earlier in the second half. He scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half.
“Outside of a two- or three-minute stretch in the second quarter, the guys did a really good job defensively,” Hahn said. “Our subs gave us really good minutes, and they were consistent the whole game.”
The Trojans built 10-1 and 15-6- leads in the first half, and their defense harassed Pike into six first-quarter turnovers.
When Jackson-Davis picked up his second foul with 6:24 remaining in the first half, however, Pike took advantage. Hahn left him in the game for most of the rest of the half, but he couldn’t play with the same aggressiveness, and the Red Devils took advantage.
They outscored Center Grove 13-1 during one second-quarter stretch, but never could build more than a three-point lead.
“I was trying to stay straight up (defensively), but I couldn’t play as aggressively as I wanted with the foul trouble,” Jackson-Davis said. “Against Bloomington North (a 77-68 win), we struggled defensively, but against a MIC opponent, you really have to turn that up. Our gap defense was really strong.”
No Pike players finished in double figures, but Steve Miller led the Red Devils with nine points.
Center Grove plays today against Hamilton Southeastern at Southport.
“We’re right where we need to be, but we have a lot of room to grow,” Hahn said. “It’s an unselfish group that shares the basketball, and the guys are taking pride in getting stops.”