Boys sectional: Pike stuns Southport for 5th straight title

Boys sectional: Pike stuns Southport for 5th straight title

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Boys sectional: Pike stuns Southport for 5th straight title

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Southport was ready to celebrate. It’s fans filled Perry Meridian’s fieldhouse on Saturday night in anticipation of the program’s first sectional championship in 15 years. Southport coach Kyle Simpson believed this was the night.

Instead, it was Pike’s night — again.

The Red Devils stunned the top-ranked Cardinals with a late run to win their fifth consecutive sectional title, 49-48. Pike struck like a lightning bolt, scoring six points in 30 seconds to take a 47-44 lead with 1:34 left. Two steals, one by Justin Roberts and one by Tahjai Teague, led to crucial baskets.

“That got our crowd into it,” said junior guard Justin Thomas, who led Pike with 21 points. “And that got us into it.”

Southport still had a chance. After Thomas scored on a drive, Malik Bennett drained a 23-foot 3-pointer from the right wing to bring the Cardinals within 49-48 with 42.9 seconds left. Thomas missed the front-end of a one-and-one with 23.2 seconds left and Simpson called timeout to set up a final play with 13.9 seconds remaining.

Boys sectionals: Southport, Pike to meet again

Bennett took a contested 3-pointer from the right wing that missed. Eli Walton’s follow shot glanced off the rim and teammate Jamie Burnett had the ball briefly before Pike’s Derek Hawthorne corralled it and fired it down the floor to Roberts, who threw the ball skyward as Pike celebrated.

After it was over, Pike’s players and fans put five fingers in the air to note its fifth sectional title in a row.

“We talk about ‘Where is the journey going to end?’ ” said fifth-year Pike coach Bill Zych. “We want it to end at Bankers Life in the state championship. Sometimes we get there, sometimes we don’t. But we talk about making plays when there is 5,000 people in the gym in a tournament environment and that’s what we did tonight.”

Pike (18-8) will play Richmond (24-3) on Saturday at 10 a.m. in the regional at Southport. Brownsburg (20-6) faces Lawrence North (19-5) in the second semifinal.

It was heartbreak again for Southport, which must be tired of seeing Pike in its path. The Cardinals (23-3) lost to Pike in overtime in last year’s sectional final and dropped a four-overtime decision, 92-86, to the Red Devils in the semifinals of the Marion County tournament in January.


Pike’s Justin Thomas (right), the team’s high-scorer with 21 points, celebrates with his teammates after the school won its fifth consecutive sectional by beating the Class 4A No. 1 Southport Cardinals 49-48 in the Perry Meridian boys basketball sectional final on Saturday, March 7, 2015.

“These guys accomplished a lot of firsts this year,” Simpson said. “They won the Hall of Fame Classic, won Conference Indiana outright. There’s a lot of positives. I thought tonight was going to be the night. I really did. But things just didn’t go our way.”

Ball State recruit Teague added 10 points and nine rebounds for Pike. Bennett led Southport with 22 points and sophomore standout Paul Scruggs added 14 points and seven rebounds. Pike held Southport’s 6-10 junior, Joey Brunk, to nine points.

In the county game, Brunk had 32 points and 14 rebounds.

MUNCIE CENTRAL: Hamilton Heights 55, Yorktown 52, 2 OTs

LAWRENCE CENTRAL: Lawrence North 67, Tech 46

ROUNDUP: Carmel, Franklin Central, Attucks among winners

SCORES : from around the state

“He’s big,” Teague said. “We just tried to take charges and make it hard for him.”

Zych credited two unheralded players, 6-2 senior Jordan Marshall and 6-5 junior Durante Lee, for their defensive effort on Brunk.

“Those guys don’t get any publicity but they played their hearts out tonight,” Zych said.

Success at a basketball power like Pike is judged by state titles, not sectionals. The Red Devils have three of the former, the last coming in 2003. But this sectional championship – the 18th overall for the program – may carry a little more weight.

“The kids were focused and energized,” Zych said. “They knew what they were up against. It was a great, great victory for our guys.”

Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649. Follow him on Twitter: @KyleNeddenriep.

PIKE 49, SOUTHPORT 48

Southport

13

11

11

13

48

Pike

9

15

10

15

49

Southport (23-3) – Scruggs 7 0-0 14, Davis 0 0-0 0, Bennett 9 0-0 22, Walton 1 0-0 2, Brunk 3 3-4 9, Johnston 0 1-2 1, Burnett 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 4-6 48.

Pike (18-8) – Roberts 2 0-0 5, Thomas 7 4-7 21, Teague 5 0-1 10, Jeff White 1 0-0 2, Lee 0 0-0 0, Hawthorne 3 1-4 7, Jalen White 0 0-0 0, Marshall 2 0-0 4. Totals: 20 5-12 49.

3-pointers: Southport 4 (Bennett 5, Scruggs, Johnston, Burnett), Pike 4 (Thomas 3, Roberts).

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