HAGERSTOWN, Ind. – Centerville is in a familiar spot.
After a two-year absence, the Bulldogs are back in the finals of the Wayne County Tournament.
Centerville dominated the tournament for nearly a decade, winning eight consecutive county crowns from 2005-2012. After Saturday’s 55-38 win over Lincoln, the Bulldogs get their first crack at the title since last winning it when they face defending champion Northeastern at 7:45 p.m. Monday.
“It’s an opportunity and we hope we can take advantage of it,” said Centerville senior Trevor Miller, who scored eight points with four rebounds in Saturday’s winning outing.
Fellow Bulldog senior Sam Shaw paced the offensive effort, delivering game highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Shaw was opportunistic, scoring on offensive rebounds and helping the Bulldogs win the battle of the boards. He had 12 points and nine rebounds at halftime as Centerville led 33-21.
“When you play inside, it opens up the outside, and I thought our guys shot well outside,” Shaw said. “We knew they had their big guy, and … our guards and forwards knocked down the shots.”
Ricky Torres scored 15 points for Centerville (6-3), while Torres, Justyn North and Hunter Pruitt all made 3-pointers.
Centerville’s defense, typically stingy through the years under head coach Ryan Chiddister, was effective from start to finish. The Bulldogs held a 47-33 advantage after three quarters, and put the game away in the final frame by allowing just five points.
“I was pleased with how we played tonight,” Chiddister said. “We got the ball inside to Sam on a lot of possessions, and were able to play off of him. We don’t need Sam to shoot every time, but we do need Sam to touch the ball every time. I felt when he touched the ball, good things happened and we started moving off of that.”
Lincoln’s Ben Singer swished a 3-pointer early in the first quarter as he crossed the 1,000-point threshold for his career. Centerville’s defensive game plan started with focusing on the Golden Eagles’ standout senior.
“Any time you play Lincoln, your game plan is going to be to stop Singer, and that’s easier said than done,” Chiddister said. “I thought we focused pretty well on him tonight, and we’re decent at stopping one main player from an opposing team. We have to get better at a team that has more than one outside shooter.
“They (the Golden Eagles) are a good ball club, and we’ll just work to get better defensively.”
Jacob Kissick led Lincoln with 11 points, with Singer scoring eight and Trevor Gabbard adding seven points and five rebounds for the 5-5 Golden Eagles.
“Their physicality was huge tonight,” Lincoln coach Rodney Klein said of Centerville. ” … They just pounded the ball inside to him (Shaw) and the thing that probably hurt us more than him just getting the ball inside was his ability to get offensive rebounds.”
Monday marks the second meeting this season between Northeastern and Centerville. The Knights won the Tri-Eastern Conference clash 56-32 on Dec. 5.
Northeastern, 10-0 and ranked second in Class 2A, advanced with Friday’s 73-64 victory over Hagerstown.
“They have good shooters, good athletes,” Miller said of the Knights. “You just have to come out and play hard.”
Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI
BULLDOGS 55, GOLDEN EAGLES 38
LINCOLN (5-5)– Gabbard 2 1-2 7, Bertsch 0 0-0 0, Delks 0 0-0 0, Kissick 4 3-5 11, Singer 2 3-4 8, Southerland 2 0-0 5, Ferris 1 0-0 2, Underwood 0 0-0 0, Pumphrey 2 1-2 5. TOTALS– 13 8-13 38.
CENTERVILLE (6-3)-Miller 4 0-0 8, Torres 6 2-2 15, Stamper 1 0-2 2, Brandon 2 0-0 4, North 1 0-0 3, Pruitt 1 0-0 3, Shaw 9 2-3 20. TOTALS-24 4-7 55.
Lincoln 9 21 33 38
Centerville 16 33 47 55
3-pointers– LIN 4 (Gabbard 2, Singer, Southerland), CEN 3 (Torres, North, Pruitt). Rebounds-LIN 24 (Gabbard 5), CEN 41 (Shaw 13). Turnovers-LIN 14, CEN 9. Fouls-LIN 18, CEN 10. Fouled out-Kissick, Singer.