Central coach Matt Fine went into Saturday’s extended halftime happy with the opportunity to emphasize over and over how a good third quarter could potentially end his team’s two-game losing streak.
The extra time proved only to delay an onslaught by Noblesville in the next eight minutes, however, as the Millers used a 19-point third quarter to run away from the Bearcats 51-39.
“The first three possessions of the third quarter, we turned it over,” Fine said. “It kind of just snowballed from there and our heads got down. We didn’t move on to the next play and it kind of fell apart there for a stretch. Against a team like Noblesville, you can’t do that.”
After struggling to penetrate Central’s zone consistently in the first half, Noblesville showed what it could do when the ball got to the right spots.
Coach Dave McCollough said the team made adjustments at halftime to be more fundamentally sound to break down the Bearcats’ zone.
“We talked about doing a great job of attacking the gaps in their zone,” McCollough said. “I thought there were some times in the first half where we threw the ball without pass fakes and making them shift. In the second half, I thought we did a better job. We moved the ball and go it into the teeth of the zone a little bit more.”
The senior duo of Sam Philpott and Deris Duncan were the beneficiaries of the space created in Central’s defense.
Philpott and Duncan took turns pulling up for short jumpers or driving in for physical baskets in the paint, finishing with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
“I expect them to have big games, good games,” McCollough said. “Sam and Deris started last year and they’re both seniors. They need to score for us and I expect them to put points on the board.”
While Noblesville was getting anything they wanted in the third quarter, seemingly every Central shot had a high difficulty level.
Fine said to get easier shots, his team needs to offensive rebound more and get some points off its defense. Seniors Kaleb Mallory and Jabriel Allen finished with 17 and nine points, respectively, but too many times they were isolated to make a play on the perimeter.
Despite Saturday’s loss extending Central’s losing streak to three games, Fine said there were plenty of positives to build upon in the coming weeks.
“We led at halftime, so I think that shows we were ready to go,” Fine said.
“We were in position, and it’s just disappointing that we didn’t come out with more intensity and a focus to execute in the third.”