Girls hoops: No. 1 North Central wears down Ben Davis

Girls hoops: No. 1 North Central wears down Ben Davis

Video

Girls hoops: No. 1 North Central wears down Ben Davis

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri}p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Calibri; min-height: 14.0px}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}

North Central battled back to beat rival Ben Davis on Friday night in girls basketball action.

North Central battled back to beat rival Ben Davis on Friday night in girls basketball action.

North Central’s girls basketball team hadn’t faced much adversity coming into its matchup Friday night at Ben Davis. Of the Panthers’ 17 victories, just one was by less than double digits.

The Class 4A No. 7 Giants (15-3) gave the Panthers all they could handle, leading by as many as 11 in the second quarter. But balanced scoring and stout defense in the closing minutes allowed No. 1 North Central to escape with a 67-59 win.

Ajanae’ Thomas led the Panthers with 18 points, including 10 in the second half. Three other Panthers finished in double figures.

Even when the Panthers (18-0) fell behind — they trailed by seven after the first and by five at halftime — the team’s confidence never wavered.

“This is our game. We’re a great team. We’re undefeated. We need to play our game,” Thomas said of her message to the team. “We weren’t worried, but we knew we had to step up and do what we were supposed to do.”

Despite eight points from Diamond Williams in the third quarter, Ben Davis couldn’t withstand the North Central scoring attack and trailed by one going into the fourth. When Khera Goss got into foul trouble in the fourth, the Giants’ offense was stymied. They scored just nine points in the final period and turned the ball over on their final four possessions.

“We couldn’t keep everybody we wanted on the floor,” Ben Davis coach Joe Lentz said. “We missed some opportunities to finish and keep the lead. When they hit some buckets and stretched the lead, we forced plays a little bit.”

Then, North Central was able to play to its strength: wearing teams down.

“We wear people out,” North Central coach DeeAnn Ramey said. “They were exhausted. It really showed in the fourth quarter.”

Ben Davis took the lead with six minutes to play, but Thomas made back-to-back layups to give the Panthers a two-possession lead with under two minutes to go that they would not relinquish.

“It was a mismatch on (Thomas),” Ramey said. “She just had to go to work. And what can you say about (Rikki) Harris? That’s why we’re a tough team to beat. We have multiple players that can score.”

Harris finished with 15 points for the Panthers.

While it was a strong night for the Giants offensively, they didn’t have enough weapons to knock off the state’s top-ranked team.

“We depend on Nia (Clark), we also look for Khera (Goss) to score,” Lentz said. “When Diamond can score, now we’ve got a lot of weapons. Obviously you need a lot of weapons against North Central. You’ve got to go a long way to beat them.”

Follow IndyStar reporter Matthew VanTryon on Twitter: @MVanTryon.

NORTH CENTRAL 67, BEN DAVIS 59

North Central 9 23 21 14 — 67

Ben Davis 16 21 15 7 — 59

NORTH CENTRAL (18-0) — Rikki Harris 5 3-6 15, Savaya Brockington 1 2-3 4, Taylor Ramey 3 8-9 16, Ajah Stallings 5 4-6 14, Ajanae’ Thomas 7 4-7 18. Totals: 21 21-31 67

BEN DAVIS (15-3) — Cherrelle Newsom 1 0-0 3, Bethany Blow 1 2-2 4, Geniya Petty 0 2-2 2, Nia Clark 7 1-2 17, Imani Graham 0 0-1 0, Jada Coleman 0 2-3 2, Khera Goss 4 2-4 11, Diamond Williams 8 4-5 20. Totals: 21 13-19 59

3-point goals: North Central 4 (Harris 2, Ramey 2) Ben Davis 4 (Clark 2, Blow, Goss)

Latest

More USA Today High School Sports
Home