Central’s players got a pep talk from seven Bearcats before Saturday night’s game in the Fieldhouse.
The chat with the seven 1952 champions worked wonders for a team that was coming close, but not posting victories.
This game with Delta was never close after a 16-0 spurt gave Central a 28-7 lead with 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Bearcats won 78-46.
“The ’52 team came in (and) that was neat for everybody involved,” said coach Matt Fine.
The inspiration was noticeable. Senior winger Jabriel Allen continueed his torrid scoring with 15 of his 33 points in the opening quarter. Senior point guard Kaleb Mallory scored seven of his 11 points and helped harass Delta into several turnovers. The Eagles made 18 for the game.
“We knew that pressure could hurt them,” Fine said. “I liked that we were unselfish.”
Central led 28-10 at the end of the first period and 43-14 at halftime.
“Boy, they shot the ball well and put a lot of pressure on us,” said Delta coach Stan Daugherty. “We got in too much of a hole.”
The closest Delta got after that was 14 points midway through the second period.
Travis Woods returned to the lineup and scored 15 points for the Bearcats, who are 2-4. Jay’lin Barnes grabbed 11 rebounds and scored eight points in another strong effort on the boards.
“Jay’lin played a great game on the glass,’ Fine said.
Junior forward Klay Fullenkamp led Delta with 11 points, while senior Jensen Glaze added eight.
It was a night of celebration as members of the 1952 championship team walked out to center court at halftime and were give a memento from athletic director Chip Mehaffey. They were Danny Thornburg, Gerald Wright, Jesse Rhodes, Charlie Hodson, Calvin Grim, Dick Rollins and Tom Raisor.
“To all of the great legends, we say: ‘Thank you,'” said announcer Rob Fisher after the short presentation.
Allen scored 25 points before halftime. He scored 36 in a 66-63 loss at New Castle on Friday night.
“Obviously, he’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s shooting in great rhythm,” Fine said. “His teammates are playing well around him,” Fine said.
The Bearcats continue a tough opening part to the season with a game Tuesday at Jay County, which is undefeated in five games.
The Eagles (2-4) knew that they faced a tough task coming into the Fieldhouse after a big conference win Friday night at Rushville.
“I thought our kids played hard,” Daugherty said. “We really have made a lot of improvement in the last week. Hopefully, we can continue to do that.”
The Eagles play at Monroe Central on Friday night.