Beating a team twice in the same season is always a challenge. When that team is a crosstown rival in the quarterfinals of the City tournament, that challenge increases.
Crispus Attucks proved it was up to that challenge Thursday night, knocking off Broad Ripple 76-64 to advance to Saturday night’s semifinals against host Tech.
“It’s always hard to beat a team twice, and they gave us a good game the first time,” said Mel Baird, who was coaching his first City tournament game in just his fourth contest after taking over the reins at Attucks. “(Broad Ripple coach) Scott Hicks is a great coach and I knew he would have them prepared. We were just able to execute against their 1-3-1 and 32 late and that was the difference.”
For most of the first three quarters, Broad Ripple used its zone defense and physical play on the backboards to give the host Tigers all they could handle.
When Sam Colbert made a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, Broad Ripple claimed a 34-31 lead. But after the Rockets extended that lead to 36-31 early in the second half, Attucks turned the tide midway through the third quarter.
Attucks tied the score at 38, then outscored the Rockets 14-7 to close out the final 3:55 of the third quarter. Teyon Scanlan spearheaded the Tigers’ charge, scoring seven of his 19 points in just over a minute of the third quarter.
The Tigers also forced turnovers and limited second-chance points for Broad Ripple to help fuel the decisive run.
“Defensively, we had to lock in and everybody had to rebound,” Baird said. “They were getting a lot of offensive rebounds and turning it into second-chance points and once we were able to shut that down, we were able to turn the game around.”
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Attucks extended its lead to 60-46 with 6:03 to play, but after Colbert reeled off seven of his team-leading 18 points, the Tigers’ lead shrunk to 60-53.
But the Rockets turned it over on three of their next four possessions and Attucks held on.
“Defense is key. I preach that every day,” Baird said. “We understand that in order to be a state-contending team, you’ve got to be able to play defense for 32 minutes. Going in, I knew if we could limit them to one shot and lock in defensively, we can beat any team.”
Tech beat Arlington 90-54.
“The City tournament is only one game and if you’re good for that night, anything can happen,” Baird said. “We know they’ve got a heck of a guard in C.J. Walker and role players that are really good. We’ve got to box out because their second-chance points are what really gets them going.”