Basketball

HS girls hoops: Pike wins emotion-filled sectional championship over Ben Davis

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Pike's Angela Baker rises up for a shot during the Red Devils' 58-55 sectional championship win over Geniya Petty and Ben Davis on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

Pike’s Angela Baker rises up for a shot during the Red Devils’ 58-55 sectional championship win over Geniya Petty and Ben Davis on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS – A year ago, the Pike and Ben Davis girls basketball teams watched from the sideline as the state tournament commenced, after a regular-season brawl kept them out of the postseason.

A year’s worth of emotion poured into Saturday’s sectional championship between the squads, which  entered the game with only three players with previous tournament experience.

Angel Baker (21 points) and Michaela White (18) led the way for Pike, which withstood a late Ben Davis rally for a 58-55 victory on the Giants’ home court.

The Class 4A No. 4 Red Devils (21-3) will face Brownsburg at noon Saturday in the first round of the Decatur Central regional.

“We wanted this so bad,” White said. “Last year was so sad, not good at all. Everyone cried when we found out we couldn’t play. We had to make a comeback, and we did that tonight.”

After five years at the helm, Pike coach Bob Anglea stepped away from the role last season. When he reassumed the post prior to this campaign, he knew how bad the team still hurt.

“They’re basketball kids through and through,” Anglea said. “When you lose something you love that much, it makes you rethink everything, and we just committed to each other. When you do that, everything else just falls into place.”

Ben Davis’ Nia Clark scored 26 points, including a near half-court 3-pointer to end the third quarter. The shot kick-started the Giants, who would erase an 11-point deficit.

In her final game for the Giants, Diamond Williams added 12 points.

“I’ve never been more proud of a team,” said Ben Davis coach Joe Lentz, whose eighth-ranked squad finished 20-6. “They rebounded from last year, fought hard, just came up a little short.”

After spotting Pike the first six points of the contest, Ben Davis got it together, and Clark’s back-to-back 3s pushed the Giants to a 16-14 lead.

The teams shot a combined 11-of-12 on free throws in the second quarter. Pike missed just one in the first half, and owned an 11-6 edge at the line and a 28-26 advantage at halftime.

Down 48-37, Clark’s buzzer-beater sparked a 15-4 run bookended by another Clark 3. Larae Rascoe answered with a 3 for Pike, which led 56-52 before another long-range make by Clark cut it to one with 3.6 seconds left.

Two free throws by Baker, followed by an interception of a Ben Davis desperation heave, and Pike punched its ticket to regionals.

“I’ve been coaching 12 years. This is the most fun I’ve had,” Anglea said. “These are big-hearted kids who love each other. We wanted to get back to Pike basketball, and they’ve done it.”

PIKE 58, BEN DAVIS 55

Pike       14        14       20           10        —  58

Ben Davis      16         10       14        15        —  55

Pike (21-3) — Roberson 2 1-2 5, Rascoe 2 3-5 8, Baker 7 5-7 21, White 8 2-2 18, Brown 1 0-0 2, Geisler 0 0-0 0, Garrard 0 4-5 4. Totals 20 15-21 58.

Ben Davis (20-6) — Newsom 0 1-2 1, Blow 0 0-2 0, Petty 0 2-4 2, Clark 10 1-2 26, Graham 2 0-0 5, Walker 0 0-0 0, Goss 3 2-2 9, Williams 4 4-5 12. Totals 19 10-17 55.

3-point goals: Pike 3 (Baker 2, Rascoe), Ben Davis 7 (Clark 5, Graham, Goss)