Before the Beech Grove game, Whiteland boys basketball coach Matt Wadsworth had a pretty simple scouting report.
The Hornets had speed. The Warriors had size. And both teams had shooting.
But on Friday night, Beech Grove had the shooting edge.
Behind 27-of-45 (60 percent) shooting from the field, the Class 3A Hornets defeated visiting Class 4A Whiteland 79-64 in the regular-season finale.
Senior Kori Sublett led Beech Grove with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting.
Meanwhile, the Warriors made 23 of 26 free throws but just 18 of 52 (34.6 percent) field goals, getting a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds from senior Dejan Davis. Senior Kyle Alford had 17 points, and junior John Hubler scored 13.
Despite the loss, Wadsworth said the game might have helped Whiteland prepare for the Class 4A sectional at Center Grove. The Warriors have a first-round bye.
Beech Grove coach Matt English is a former Center Grove assistant coach, and he uses some extended-court defenses, similar to what Whiteland will see in the sectional.
“We had the potential to have a balanced attack,” Wadsworth said. “When they’re changing their defenses from man to 2-3 zone to 2-2-1 press, I think those things kept us
off balance tonight and disrupted our flow.”
With Whiteland leading 7-6 with 3:32 remaining in the first quarter, the Hornets used a 15-0 run to take a 21-7 lead over two minutes into the second quarter.
At one point late in the first quarter, the Hornets got five points in three seconds off a turnover under the Whiteland basket.
The Warriors mounted a comeback, but they couldn’t get closer than six points the rest of the game.
Davis scored five straight points to help them pull within seven points with 2:53 left in the first half.
“After that 15-0 run, when we came back, it was because we went inside,” Wadsworth said.
Beech Grove pushed a 33-25 halftime lead to 15 points midway the third quarter.
Hubler hit a 3-pointer to pull the Warriors within eight with 2:28 left in the third, but they couldn’t sustain a run to get closer.
Whiteland plays the winner of New Palestine versus Center Grove at 7:30 p.m. on March 1.
“Our kids our fighters, and we know they’ll battle hard,” Wadsworth said. “We’ve seen that throughout the year. And I wouldn’t expect anything different from our players and our coaching staff next week.”