No. 2 Cards roll to victory over No. 10 Brownsburg
Southsider Voice correspondent
Roncalli sharpshooter Jimmy King knows what it takes to be a good shooter: confidence.
King scored 26 points in leading host Roncalli to a dominating 52-28 win over neighbor Perry Meridian on Saturday.
“Seeing my first two shots go in gave me confidence for the rest of the game,” he said. “It doesn’t happen unless the guys see me and make good passes, but then I’ve got to be ready and confident to knock ’em down. They found me, and I kept making shots.”
King stunned the Falcons by hitting his first five field goal attempts, including three consecutive 3-pointers in a superb shooting clinic. His 3-point shots came from the upper left side of the court; he drove the lane for a short fielder and later hit an impressive turnaround jumper to put the Rebels ahead 40-13.
Offensively and defensively, the Rebels appeared to be in mid-season form instead of playing in the season opener for both teams.
Roncalli easily mastered Perry Meridian’s zone defense and forced the Falcons to go to man-to-man, which allowed the Rebels to drive the lane. Meanwhile, the Rebels kept getting warmer from the field each quarter.
The Rebels led 8-1 after the first quarter, despite missing their last four free throws of the period. Seeking the right combination, Falcons coach Brent Keck used 10 players in the first half, which came to a close with Roncalli leading 24-10.
“We had looked bad against their zone in our last two games, so we worked hard against it,” Roncalli coach Michael Wantz said. “It all started with our defensive intensity.”
Roncalli’s man-to-man defense was relentless, holding Perry Meridian sharpshooter 6-7 Dylan Windler to only one field goal and nine points. Windler was zero-for-5 in the first half and 1-for-3 in the second half. He was always fronted by a defender.
King explained, “We knew Windler would get a lot of touches, and we knew if we shut him down, we would shut them down, too. We did a good job on everybody on defense.”
Roncalli hit 19-of-50 field goals, while Perry Meridian connected on only 6-of-30. The Rebels won the board battle 27-18. The Falcons had 15 turnovers, the Rebels nine.
The Falcons lead the series 21-9.
In a pregame ceremony, former Roncalli assistant Pat Crosley was honored for his 15 years of coaching the Rebels.
In other action, Beech Grove defeated visiting Manual 59-38; Center Grove downed Franklin Central 61-59, and Greenwood defeated Greenwood Christian Academy 63-55 in the first boys basketball game between the schools.
New coach Zach Hahn’s emphasis on finishing close games is paying off at Center Grove. The Trojans defeated Franklin last week in overtime and then edged host Franklin Central by two points Saturday. Michael Benkert and Matt Hawk each scored 17 points for CG, while Marcus Burk led the Flashes with 16.
Greenwood opened a 20-6 lead in the first quarter, but the underdog Cougars came back to outscore the Woodmen 22-11 in the second period.
Alex Rapp and Justin Conley had 17 and 16 points, respectively, to lead the Woodmen. Noah Shingleton and Mark Gibson led Greenwood Academy’s balanced offense with 12 points each.
Against Manual, Beech Grove (2-0) was led by the three-way punch of juniors Chase Andries, 13 points, eight rebounds and seven steals; Jordan Boyd, 13 points; and senior Tommy Pich, 12 points. The Hornets hit 24-of-49 shots. Manual came back and tied the game at 32 at the end of the third quarter, but the Hornets closed the game on a 27-6 run.
No. 2-ranked Southport jumped to a 16-2 lead against No. 10 Brownsburg and rolled to an impressive 54-39 opening-night win. The Bulldogs closed to 44-37, but Southport prevailed down the stretch.
Malik Bennett led the Cardinals with 21 points; Joey Brunk and Paul Scruggs added 15 and 12, respectively.
The Cardinals are hosts to No. 16 Ben Davis at 7:30 p.m. Saturday; Warren Central travels to Franklin Central, and Manual visits neighboring Christel House Academy.
In key games Friday, Beech Grove opens Indiana Crossroads Conference play at Speedway, and Greenwood begins Mid-State action at Martinsville; Roncalli goes to Park Tudor.