This is a tale of rivalry games played Friday between Franklin Central and Southport and Jan. 7 between Greenwood and Beech Grove.
FLASHES 71, CARDINALS 63
Vastly improved and up-tempo Franklin Central jumped to a 19-5 first-quarter lead before faltering and coming back to defeat host Southport.
The Flashes shell-shocked the Cardinals with a fullcourt press that forced five turnovers in the game’s first five minutes. Once game coach Jordan Dever’s Cardinals settled down, they cut the margin to eight points (32-24) by halftime, led by Brevin Jefferson’s 11 points in the second quarter.
“Breven got us going,” Dever said. “Once our shots started falling, our younger guys gained confidence and we started rolling. Our offense led our defense.”
Southport’s run resulted in its first lead, 40-38, on freshman AJ Dancler’s 3-point shot, a lead they never gave up until FC went up for good 54-52 on a field goal by Mason Gonzalez.
“We came out in the fourth (quarter) ready to play; it was really all mental,” Gonzales said. We’re a young team, but we are starting to jell.”
FC (8-2) has four straight wins with new coach Criss Beyers, the 2019 Indiana All-Star coach. The Flashes start three juniors, one sophomore and a freshman.
Southport started 4-1 but lost five in a row until snapping the skid Saturday at New Palestine, 75-61. Against FC, Jefferson scored a game-high 21 points Friday with 19 points from 6-6 freshman Anthony Ball. Dever starts two seniors and three freshmen.
“We played harder full-length of the game than we had in our last couple of games,” Dever said. “This was 32 minutes of hard-played basketball. Our younger players are getting better every day; our seniors are guiding them.”
Each team was in action Tuesday in county tourney openers with Roncalli at Southport and Franklin Central at Perry Meridian.
WOODMEN 49, HORNETS 37
Greenwood bounced back just a few days after dropping an emotional rivalry loss by four points Jan. 3 to visiting Center Grove.
Led by seniors, 6-5 Gavin Dowling (13 points) and 6-1 Nick Duffey (11 points), the Woodmen never trailed after taking a 17-16 lead in the second quarter.
Greenwood pressured the Hornets with a fullcourt press and mixing its man-to-man and zone defenses. The Woodmen out-rebounded Beech Grove, playing without leading scorer and rebounder 6-7 Jujuan Johnson, 31-21. Junior Jaydn Curry led with 10 points.
“They (Beech Grove) played hard, but we got after it and took away some things they wanted to do,” Greenwood coach Joe Bradburn said. “I’m proud of our guys for how they came back after a hard loss and how hard we played.”
Bradburn credited Dowling for his versatility inside and out that helped the guard play, Ian Raker for hitting some timely 3-point shots, and 6-4 Rasheed Elemikan for some key rebounds.
With seven seniors, Greenwood is 7-2 after edging host Whiteland, 52-50, Saturday. The Woodmen opened Tuesday against Edinburgh in the Johnson County tourney.
Under coach Mike Renfro, Beech Grove recovered Saturday with a 51-46 overtime win at Monrovia.
BG junior Gavin Mitchell, recovered from a broken collar bone suffered during the football season, scored two points and snared two rebounds against the Woodmen. The Hornets also saw the return of burly 6-7 Josh Fryar, who missed two games while playing on the offensive line in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
“It felt good out there, but I was anxious to play,” Mitchell said. “The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but we will bounce back as a team. We just have to keep working hard.”
The Hornets have firepower with Johnson (17.8 points), senior Josh Copenhaver (10.9), Curry (8.3), and senior Isaac Stennett (6.9).
The Hornets traveled Tuesday to Decatur Central for a rematch in a county tourney opener.
Notes: Greenwood Christian junior Izzy Reed was named the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association District 3 girls basketball player of week nine after her 27 points and 23 rebounds against Park Tudor … undefeated 1A No. 1 GCA boys’ team dominated Shortridge 83-64, Saturday with a 30-point second quarter as Champ McCorkle led with 25 points with all starters in double figures … semifinals and finals for the Marion County tourney at Southport Fieldhouse and Johnson County tourney at Franklin are Friday at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m.