CENTERVILLE, Ind. – Centerville’s student section alternated between chants of “thank you Sam” and “thank you Trevor” in the closing moments of Friday’s boys basketball game with Lincoln.
It was a show of respect for the Bulldogs’ two seniors, both of whom played key roles in delivering Centerville a fifth straight victory.
Sam Shaw recorded a double-double, Trevor Miller scored 17 points — and put the game away at the free-throw line — as Centerville fended off Tri-Eastern Conference foe Lincoln 53-47.
It was the Bulldogs’ second victory this year over the Golden Eagles, and a tune-up for both teams before Wednesday’s Sectional 41 rematch at Hagerstown.
“It was an amazing feeling. Our whole community came out here and supported us,” said Shaw, who posted 18 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs. “We just wanted to give them a win.”
The Bulldogs did that, but not without a fight.
Lincoln had the hot hand in the second quarter, draining four straight 3-pointers — two from Chase Southerland and one each by Ben Singer and Trevor Gabbard — before surging ahead 28-16 with 2:22 left in the first half.
But, Centerville chipped away at that deficit. Shaw scored an inside bucket and Justyn North swished a 3-pointer to cut the Lincoln lead to 28-21 at the break.
“We talked about making a mini-run heading into halftime, and our players responded,” said Centerville coach Ryan Chiddister. “They did that, and that was pivotal.”
So was a third quarter that belonged to the Bulldogs.
North canned another trey to start the second half, and Centerville outscored Lincoln 20-5 in the frame.
Miller ended the quarter with a jumper at the buzzer, and the Bulldogs pushed ahead 41-33.
“Coach always says you have to come out and win the first four minutes,” Miller said. “We came back from 12 on Tuesday against Wapahani, so we thought seven points isn’t that much.”
Lincoln (8-13, 2-5) pulled within one midway through the fourth quarter as the Golden Eagles sought to end a drought against the Bulldogs that dates back to 2000.
Shaw answered with a basket and a free throw, and Miller made 3-of-4 from the free-throw line down the stretch.
“We played our hearts out and we executed well in the second half,” Shaw said.
Singer scored 16 to pace the Golden Eagle offense, while Gabbard netted 10 and Garrett Pumphrey finished with nine points and four rebounds.
Eric Underwood grabbed a team-high six rebounds, with Singer adding five. The Golden Eagles’ last win against Centerville was on Feb. 25, 2000, a 96-88 victory in overtime at Cambridge City.
“There were some 50-50 things that didn’t go our way late in the game, and that really hurt us a little bit,” said Lincoln coach Rodney Klein. “Bottom line is, I thought we played our seats off defensively. I thought we did a really good job defensively, really digging down on Shaw. I thought we did a good job on North as well.
“No. 3, Miller, he played really well tonight. He had a great game. You have to pick your poison. … We tried to take those two (Shaw and North) away, and Miller caught fire today.”
Miller scored 13 of his points in the second half, including a crucial 3 after the Golden Eagles pulled within one in the fourth.
Matt Stamper contributed nine points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs, with North scoring seven.
“I couldn’t be happier with how we’re playing right now,” said Chiddister, whose team improved to 13-8, 4-3. “We talked after the Connersville game that we had five games in a row that were winnable games if we played well, and we’re playing as well as we have all season. We’re playing our best basketball right now.”
It’s the right time for it, too. Sectional play begins next week, as Union County vs. Eastern Hancock opens the Class 2A tournament at Hagerstown on Tuesday.
The host Tigers face Knightstown at 6 p.m. Wednesday with Centerville-Lincoln to follow around 7:30. The Bulldogs ousted the Golden Eagles from the Wayne County Tournament on Hagerstown’s floor, winning 55-38 on Jan. 10.
“It’s incredibly hard to beat a team three times in one season,” Shaw said. “We’re ready for them. I’m sure they’re ready for us, and it’s going to be another dogfight.”
Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 email@example.com or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI
GOLDEN EAGLES 47
LINCOLN (8-13, 2-5)– Gabbard 4 0-0 10, Kissick 0 0-0 0, Singer 5 2-3 16, Southerland 2 0-0 6, Ferris 0 0-0 0, Underwood 2 1-2 6, Pumphrey 3 3-5 9. TOTALS– 16 6-10 47.
CENTERVILLE (13-8, 4-3)-Miller 6 3-4 17, Torres 1 0-1 2, Stamper 4 1-2 9, Brandon 0 0-0 0, Brewer 0 0-0 0, North 2 1-2 7, Shook 0 0-0 0, Shaw 8 2-4 18. TOTALS-26 7-13 53.
Lincoln 8 28 33 47
Centerville 12 21 41 53
3-pointers– LIN 9 (Gabbard 2, Singer 4, Southerland 2, Underwood), CEN 4 (Miller 2, North 2). Rebounds-LIN 29 (Underwood 6), CEN 37 (Shaw 10). Turnovers-LIN 13, CEN 6. Fouls-LIN 14, CEN 9. Fouled out-LIN Southerland. JV-Centerville 49, Lincoln 38.