The level of unselfishness Center Grove played with Tuesday night was evident in its final shooting percentage.
Making a blistering 28 of 41 attempts, the 10th-ranked team in Class 4A blasted visiting Perry Meridian 71-45 for what was the Trojans’ fourth consecutive victory agianst the Falcons.
Led by junior post Trayce Jackson-Davis with game-highs in points (21) and rebounds (seven), coach Zach Hahn’s squad placed three players in double-figures to improve to 8-1. Junior sharpshooter Spencer Piercefield and senior forward Joey Klaasen added 15 and 10 points, respectively.
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Making 9 of 12 from the free-throw stripe (.750), Center Grove wasn’t far from that from the floor (.683).
“It starts out with Trayce. (Perry Meridian) started in a diamond-and-one, and he’s an unselfish kid,” Hahn said. “You see in the newspaper guys going out and getting 40 and 50 points. He’s very capable of doing that.
“But one of the special things about him as a player is that he shares the ball. It took us a minute or two to kind of figure out how we’re going to do it, but our guys got in a rhythm then, and I thought we took great shots all night.”
Never once did Perry Meridian lead in the game, a 2-2 tie early being the closest it could get.
The Trojans led 14-11 after a quarter but erupted for 24 points in the second stanza to take control. Six different Center Grove players produced points in the period to lift the Trojans to a 38-19 halftime lead.
A 7-0 scoring run to open the quarter began with a shot by Klaasen, Piercefield’s old-fashioned three-point sequence and a Jackson-Davis layup.
The hosts closed the half with an 8-0 spurt on Nate McLain’s mid-range baseline jumper, free throws from Jackson-Davis, a layup from point guard Ben Nicoson and Jackson-Davis’s scoop with a second showing.
“We all put in the work. We all get up extra shots before and after practice, so we all have a lot of confidence in each other,” said Piercefield, who drained four 3-pointers in the win. “We’re not scared to make that extra pass because we know he’s going to knock it down, too.
“It comes from years of playing basketball with each other. When you’re in third- and fourth-grade, you start to develop that chemistry.”
Perry Meridian committed 10 first-half turnovers to Center Grove’s three.
And though the Falcons would turn the ball over only four times in the second half, the outcome was never in doubt as Hahn managed to play 13 different players.
Perry Meridian (2-6) received 20 points from freshman swingman Jayden Taylor and 15 from junior Semaj Danley.
The Trojans are idle until playing at Greenwood on Dec. 29, while Perry Meridian next plays Dec. 27 at Columbus North.
“To me, this is the most important part of the basketball season,” Hahn said. “We have to get better every single day because we know that the second half of our schedule is going to be tougher than the first.
“Ten days to really work on you and work on things to get better I think is a great opportunity for our kids.”