Senior staff writer
Three Southside boys basketball teams continued to discover some positives over the weekend.
Franklin Central revealed much-needed depth Saturday in defeating Cathedral 61-46 in a 4A duel among top 20 teams.
Beech Grove jumped to a fast start Friday against Lutheran and showed again that it can be consistent at times; however, the visiting Saints nearly stole the win with a second-half comeback. The Hornets prevailed 65-56 to stay in the Indiana Crossroads title hunt.
The Flashes dominated Cathedral with a zone defense that held heralded 6-3 Irish senior Eron Gordon to only 11 points and confounded the visitors to 30.9 percent (17 of 55) from the field.
FC 6-3 senior Marcus Burk exploded for 20 points in the first half and wound up with a game-high 31 points. Junior forward Grant Pedigo moved underneath for 12 points, while senior guard Jimmy Weinke ran a proficient offense, which hit on 24-of-43 shots, 55.8 percent.
“We live and die on our defensive deflections,” Flashes coach John Rockey said. “Our deflections lead to steals and usually some fun on the other end.”
Burk had most of the fun, especially in the first half when only missing two shots. Grabbing a 26-15 lead in the second quarter, the Flashes led by double digits all the way and were up 39-19 at halftime.
“He came to play,” Rockey said of Burk, who was honored before the game as the ninth player in Flashes history to score more than 1,000 points. “He’s had his three best games against ranked teams.”
In games earlier this year, Burk scored 37 points against Fort Wayne South (he hit 7-of-13 treys) and 33 against Southport.
“We’re starting to get contributions from eight kids, and that gives us the kind of depth we need,” Rockey said. “I’m happy with the play of our kids.”
And why not? The Flashes bounced back from two straight losses with three wins in four nights. With two Conference Indiana games left, the Flashes are 4-1 in league play and tied with Southport and Bloomington South.
Beech Grove and Lutheran dealt in a tale of two halves. The Hornets piled up a 35-15 halftime lead with 5-10 junior Dylan Allen scoring 11 points.
Lutheran trimmed the lead to 46-39 at the end of the third quarter as 6-4 senior Shane Miller scored the Saints’ final 10 points in the period. The Saints (8-7, 2-2) closed to four points twice in the final 80 seconds, but the Hornets hit 3-of-4 free throws for the win.
Miller had a game-high 23 points and Miner added 16. Three Hornets were in double figures with Allen, 18 points, and 12 points each from Chase Andries and Kenny Washington.
“We need more consistency in our effort, energy and focus,” Beech Grove coach Matt English observed. “We showed more energy and effort in the first half but then Lutheran played harder. We finally settled down and played with poise late in the game.”
In the visitors’ locker room, first-year Lutheran coach Bob Jacobs said, “We were flat in the first half before we believed that we belonged in this game. We’ve got a sour taste because we let this one get away. We were capable of playing better. We’re a defensive team that had given up 48 points per game, and we gave up 35 points in the first half.”
Beech Grove (6-8) is 3-1 in Indiana Crossroads play and is chasing unbeaten league leader Park Tudor.
Due to the girls basketball sectionals, most boys games this week are set for Thursday: the Battle of Perry Township unfolds with Southport (11-6) on a four-game winning streak visiting Perry Meridian (8-10),
Edinburgh (3-15) visits Greenwood (8-8), where the 1991 sectional championship team observes its 25th reunion, New Castle (12-3) visits Beech Grove (6-8), Warren Central (8-9) is at Center Grove (6-11), Greenwood Christian (5-11) travels to Morristown (6-9), Chatard (9-7) is at Roncalli (11-5).
Girls sectional action
At 4A Center Grove, Franklin Central (6-16) tests Greenwood (13-9) today at 6 p.m. and then Friday the Trojans play at 6 p.m., followed by the second semifinal game. Title game is Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
At 4A Decatur Central, Southport (11-11) tests the Hawks (6-16) Friday at 6 p.m., and Roncalli (20-4) faces Perry Meridian (6-15) at 7:30 p.m. The championship games tips at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
At 3A Indian Creek, Beech Grove (13-10) meets Danville or Northwest at 6 p.m., Friday.
At 3A Brebeuf, Manual met Chatard Tuesday, with the winner playing Crispus Attucks at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
At 1A Morristown, Lutheran (7-14) met Greenwood Christian (14-9) Tuesday with the winner playing Edinburgh (8-14) Friday at 6 p.m.
Visit www.ihsaa.org for results.