Taylor’s girls basketball team opened Tuesday night with a convincing 45-33 victory over Delphi, and the Titan boys closed the evening with a commanding 61-35 win over the Oracles. That gave the home squad a sweep of a girls-boys Hoosier Heartland Conference doubleheader at Center Court.
With their win in the nightcap, Taylor’s boys moved to 2-0 in the HHC and 4-3 overall. They own a four-game winning streak.
“We’ve won four in a row so we’ve played some good ball,” Taylor boys coach Dennis Bentzler said. “I think overall you take away the offensive rebounds, this is by far the best team defense and team offensive we’ve played.
“I was really proud of our kids because [Delphi] hung with us for most of the first quarter and early second quarter, but then we started to widen it out and I thought the second half we weren’t passive. We built on the 12-point lead and we stretched it out. I’m really proud of them for putting the binders on, playing together and playing hard and executing what we talked about offensively and defensively.”
Taylor led 16-13 after a quarter, then closed the first half on a 7-0 run for a 29-17 lead at the break. The Titans led 42-27 after three quarters but Delphi still had hope with some key buckets in that frame. The Titans ended any doubt with an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter to push their lead to 50-29, capped by an offensive rebound bucket by Nathan Keene when he scored off a teammate’s missed free throw.
The Titan boys got 12 points each from Keene and Jaylen Harris, 10 from Ryley Gilbert, eight from Quinten Tucker, and six each from Ty’Mon Davis and Makhi McGee.
“Offensively I just thought the kids distributed the ball, they played together,” Bentzler said. “We didn’t rely on one or two guys. We know Jaylen and Ryley are going to help us — they’re the penetrators, they’re going to be the playmakers. We’re trying to get nine, 10 guys involved, play 84 feet for 32 minutes. I decided at Christmas time we were going to change direction. Instead of trying to put in a bunch of sets and be structured halfcourt, we’re going to play 84 feet for 32 minutes.”
The constant stream of energy from the Titans always had Delphi under pressure. Even though Bentzler lamented giving up a dozen offensive rebounds, Taylor took a 34-21 advantage in total rebounds with Josh Bowman grabbing a team-high seven.
Shooter Jordan Roth led Delphi (2-3, 1-1 HHC) with nine points, all on triples.
Kelsi Langley scored a quick post move and then on a 3-pointer to give the Taylor girls a 5-0 lead, and the Titans never let Delhi pull even in a wire-to-wire Titan victory. Taylor moved to 7-4 overall and 3-1 in the HHC with the win.
Langley matched her uniform number with a game-high 21 points. Emma Good scored 13 and Katie Hogan six. Taylor led 9-5 after a quarter, 21-12 at halftime and 31-20 after three quarters. Taylor connected on just 16 of 51 shots but held Delphi to 9 of 39 shooting. The Oracles were held to single digit scoring totals in each of the first three quarters.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well. I know we’ll have nights like that but we can always play defense and I thought we did, early, play defense pretty well,” Taylor girls coach Tony Oliver said. “The big [post players] always seems to hurt us in the paint. I don’t know what to do about that and that gets us into foul trouble — we’re not very deep anyway — but I’ll tell you what I got great minutes out of Miranda Saldana and Alex Collins.”
The Titans have just seven players and can’t afford foul trouble. Good fouled out but the Titans were in control by then. Post players Haley Nelson and Harley Myer combined for 15 points for the Oracles (0-4, 0-3 HHC) who were playing their first game since Nov. 24 after five postponements. Point guard Evann Royal led Delphi with 10 points.
The Titans rebounded after dropping a league game to Clinton Prairie on Saturday.
“I liked the outcome,” Oliver said. “I was on them pretty hard after the Clinton Prairie game. I thought we had a chance to win that game. You know what, we bounced back. For some reason it’s hard to beat us two times in a row, so we usually learn from our mistakes.”
Langley added a game-high 11 rebounds and Good seven.