Football

Boys hoops: Warren Central remains unbeaten after win against LN

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Warren Central's David Bell guards Lawrence North's Antwaan Cushingberry during Friday night's game in Indianapolis.

Warren Central’s David Bell guards Lawrence North’s Antwaan Cushingberry during Friday night’s game in Indianapolis.

One by one, Warren Central’s boys basketball players departed from the handshake line with Lawrence North with smiles brimming on their faces, looking up at the student section cheering them on proudly.

By the time the team gathered together, the excitement was too much. They began chanting: “Undefeated! Undefeated!” And the mob of fans gowned in black and gold bellowed right back at them: “Undefeated! Undefeated!”

The Warriors (8-0) charged into conference rival territory Friday night and shot the lights out  from the 3-point line — hitting 12-of-24 from behind the arc — against Lawrence North (8-4) to celebrate a 63-57 victory with just one game remaining before the Marion County tournament begins next week.

“It feels pretty good, (the students)  letting us know they have our backs,” said Mack Smith, who scored a game-high 24 points. “We feed off their energy and bring that energy on the court.”

For the first quarter and a half, the Wildcats looked strong defending their home court and stayed aggressive on the defensive end of the floor. The Warriors had committed 10 turnovers at halftime, which looked like it could wind up becoming a detriment to them in the second half.

But then shot after shot, the Warriors began knocking down 3s starting just before halftime and continuing until midway through the fourth quarter. At one point, the Warriors had sunk 10 of their last 11 shots from behind the arc.

“We want to have a defensive identity even though you wouldn’t believe it tonight,” Warren Central coach Criss Beyers said. “And we played good defense. (But) they play that zone and, if we rotate it, we know we’re going to get wide open looks, and that’s what we talked about all week. And when we got wide open looks, the kids knocked them down.”

Lawrence North scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and pulled within two points in the final minutes of the game, showing grit despite the gym’s energy largely belonging to Warren Central throughout the night.

Junior forward Kevin Easley scored a team-high 21 points while junior guard Antwaan Cushingberry added another 19. But ultimately missed free throws — an alarming 10 misses in 23 trips to the line — and poor shooting just under 30 percent on 64 shots doomed the Wildcats to their fourth loss of the season.

“Our chemistry with our students and our players is getting better,” said Warriors junior guard Dean Tate, who scored 21 points. “We’re all just coming together for an undefeated season right now.”

Follow IndyStar reporter Jordan J. Wilson on Twitter: @Wilsonable07. 

WARREN CENTRAL 63, LAWRENCE NORTH 57 

Warren Central — 15 14 17 17 — 63

Lawrence North — 13 12 12 20 — 57

Warren Central — Dean Tate 6-12 4-6 21, Paul Minor 1-4 1-1 3, Trequan Spivey 1-4 2-4 4, Mack Smith 8-9 2-2 24, Allante Harper 1-3 0-0 3, David Bell 1-3 4-5 6, Ki-ng Tyler 1-4 0-0 2, Jay Hines 0-2 0-0 0.

Lawrence North — Antwaan Cushingberry 6-18 5-7 19, Mike Saunders 1-8 2-3 4, Dexter Shouse 2-9 0-3 5, Ra Kpedi 3-10 2-4 8, Kevin Easley 7-16 4-6 21, Dalen Davis 0-2 0-0 0, Jared Hankins 0-1 0-0 0.