Senior staff writer
The Southport Cardinals put an exclamation mark on Bill Springer Night by adding more history to Southport Fieldhouse. In front of scores of former Southport players, the Cardinals won the boys basketball version of the Battle of Perry Township 45-43 on a buzzer-beater by senior Brian Wilson.
The winning shot from just inside the 3-point line came an instant after teammate Brevin Jefferson’s driving shot was blocked in the lane by Chris McDonald.
“The ball bounced down in front of me,” Wilson recalled. “I picked it up; I called it (in) when I shot it.” Wilson’s shot touched off a celebration with his teammates in front of the scorer’s table and concluded a night to remember in the historic fieldhouse.
Spurred by a pair of 3-pointers by Jayaun Moore, the Cardinals built a 27-15 halftime lead. Perry Meridian, coached for the first time by veteran Mark James, opened the third quarter with a 2-3 zone defense that forced turnovers and led to a 9-0 run. Senior Semaj Danley led the comeback with five points.
“It (zone) was a great move by coach James,” praised Southport coach Eric Brand.” We had prepared for it, but we didn’t handle it well. We began to play tight on offense and that dictated our defense too. We were able to move the ball later in the half.”
The Falcons never led but tied it at 40 and 43, the last time on Reggie McDonald’s 3-point shot with 2:43 to go. They committed a half-court violation that gave to the ball Southport for the eventual winning shot.
Jefferson led Southport with 16 points and eight rebounds and 6-7 Chaz Hinds added 12 points. The Cards hit 17-of-32 field goal tries. Sophomore Jayden Taylor paced the Falcons with 15 points, including six in the fourth quarter. Danley wound up with 10 points. PM connected on 16-of-38 shots.
“Both teams played hard,” James said. “It stinks that we got beat. It came down to a one-possession game. I’m pleased with our kids because they fought.” The doubleheader got underway with Perry Meridian’s girls
putting together a 22-point attack in the second quarter for a 59-44 win. The Falcons biggest lead was 44-22. PM’s 6-4 senior Caitie Baird had a game-high 17 points; teammate Ariana Booker scored 12. Juniors Kyra Duncan, 13 points, and Lexie Green 11, led Southport.
Southport’s boys are 2-0 after dominating Seymour 56-42 Saturday. The Cards enjoyed a 34-12 halftime lead and were led by Jefferson and Hinds, who combined for 35 points.
Hornets sting twice
Beech Grove’s boys team won its home debut on Matt English Court against conference foe Scecina 73-47 Saturday after running away for a 101-80 win at host Greenfield Nov. 20. With coach Matt English courtside, the Hornets turned a slim 24-16 halftime lead into a 26-point win against the Crusaders.
At Greenfield, five Hornets were in double figures: Jujuan Allison with 24 points, Gavin Hess 17, John Parker 15, Josh Copenhaver 15, and Griffin Wade 12.
No. 3 Center Grove also is 2-0 after defeating Franklin 68-48 and Franklin Central 81-55.
Mr. Basketball candidate Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 53 points and pulled down 20 rebounds for the Trojans in the two games. Teammate Spencer Piercefield canned six 3s in scoring 20 points against the Flashes.
Three Southside teams face ranked foes with No. 4 Cathedral visiting CG Friday and No. 1 Warren Central calling on Franklin Central and No. 6 Ben Davis testing Southport Saturday.
The Marion County tourney begins Tuesday at 7 p.m. with Beech Grove (2-3) at Perry Meridian (2-5), Franklin Central (0-6) at Brebeuf Jesuit, Park Tudor (3-4) at Lutheran (1-5) and No. 4 North Central (6-0) at Roncalli (5-1). Center Grove (5-2) handed the Rebels their first loss Saturday, 54-44, as Ella Thompson scored 20 points and Emma Utterback added 16 for the Trojans.