A tall, muscular front line allowed Noblesville to inflict its will at key times on Lafayette Jeff during Friday night’s 48-33 Hoosier Crossroads Conference boys basketball victory at Crawley Center.
Giving up nearly a foot in height and tens of pounds, the Bronchos’ front line of Tyler Buchanan, Lucas Wallace and Peter Ripke did its best against a Noblesville foursome that stands 6-foot-7, 6-foot-7, 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4. Wallace snared a game-high 10 rebounds, and Buchanan was 8 of 9 from the field for a game-high 18 points.
But the Millers’ physical play held Ripke to 0-of-8 shooting and Wallace to 1 of 8 from the field in a game they never trailed.
“I thought the first half and a good portion of the second half, we did a good job blocking them out,” said Lafayette Jeff coach Scott Radeker, whose team was outrebounded 31-24. “We tried to rebound with them. They’ve got 6-7, 6-7, 6-5 and they are physical kids. It’s not like they’re stiffs. They move pretty well. It took its toll on us a little bit in the second half.”
After trailing 13-2 and 19-9, Lafayette Jeff (3-4, 0-2 HCC) closed within 19-18 after two 3-pointers from Quarin Hood and two free throws by Wallace with 3:23 to play in the first half. But Jordan Goodman hit a jumper just before the halftime buzzer to give Noblesville a 25-19 lead.
The Millers (3-2, 1-1) surged to a 12-point lead midway through the second half and won easily even though they were held without a basket for the first 7:56 of the fourth quarter.
That’s because Lafayette Jeff didn’t score until three minutes into the final period on a short jumper from Buchanan. Buchanan, a 6-3 junior, was 6 of 6 from the field in the second half while his teammates combined to shoot 1 of 12.
“In prior games I tried to get some outside looks from the 3, but being one of the biggest guys we have, I had to really take advantage of that and get inside and get some layups and short corner shots,” Buchanan said. “I think we battled hard, and we stayed in it for the most part. We have to make a few adjustments.”
Goodman led Noblesville with 14 points, six coming on free throws in the fourth quarter.