Tri-Central’s boys basketball team seemingly limped through the first quarter against Cowan but surged in the second and third quarters to win its home opener, 66-38, Friday night.
The Trojans (2-2) found themselves down 13-8 after the first quarter of play. Cowan junior center Riley Duncan quickly had seven points for the Blackhawks (0-2) but picked up his second and third fouls quickly and was relegated to the bench, taking away the Blackhawks’ ability to toss the ball down low and use his size as an advantage.
But it was Trojan Caden Leininger who triggered his team into action with his defensive play. He quickly became a nuisance for the Cowan offense, forcing multiple turnovers by stealing the ball, which led to points for the Trojans.
“For whatever reason … the first quarter was kind of a dud,” said Trojan coach Bill Bowen. “[Caden] came in [and] he made some plays, but the energy he brought to the floor kind of sparked [the team]. His play was pretty good, and it sparked other guys.”
Michael Carr and Jake Chapman combined to score 17 points in the second quarter, which saw the Trojans outscore Cowan 23-9.
It was a Carr free throw that tied the game with 4:20 to go in the second quarter. Seconds later, Chapman scored inside to take the lead at 4:11. The Trojans and Blackhawks traded the lead back in forth for a few minutes before three straight buckets by Chapman tied the game. The Trojans then took a five-point lead and held the advantage the rest of the game.
The Trojans closed out the first half with Carr stealing the ball, shooting from half-court and banking the shot through the hoop. The gymnasium erupted in cheers, and momentum was firmly on the Trojans’ side.
Tri-Central continued its attack in the third quarter, quickly outscoring the Blackhawks 11-4 in the first three minutes of play, which included three baskets from beyond the arc by Braxton Young, Carr, and Chapman.
The Trojans also helped themselves by taking care of the ball through the game. They finished with nine turnovers while Cowan finished with 22.
“What happens is you get a shot nearly every time,” said Bowen of not turning over the ball. “You aren’t going to make them all, but you get a shot. That was a huge positive for us to not turn the ball over in the second half and just overall take better care of the ball.”
Chapman led all scorers with 26 points and added six rebounds. Carr and Young each finished with 13 points for the Trojans. Mason Pickens led the Trojans with seven rebounds, but Duncan had a game-high 11 rebounds.
The victory was the Trojans’ first home opener victory in the Bowen-era at Tri-Central and their first since 2009. The Trojans travel to Frontier tomorrow night.
Josh Roller, for the Kokomo Tribune
CASS 52, LOGAN 45
Lewis Cass ended Logansport’s 11-year run as Cass County Tournament champions on Friday night.
The Kings recorded a 52-45 win at the Berry Bowl.
Easton Good had 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists and seven steals to lead the Kings (3-1) and was named the tournament MVP.
Tyson Johnson had 14 points, four boards and two assists, and Austin Holt added eight points and 10 rebounds. Both were named to the all-tournament team. Freshman Tyson Good added seven points.
It was the Kings’ first win over the Berries in four seasons and first win over them at the Berry Bowl since the state championship season in 2003.
Evan Hassett led Logan with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
CARROLL 54, FRONTIER 45
The balanced Cougars led at every stop to win at home and move to 2-1 on the season. Carroll led 10-6 after a quarter, 20-17 at halftime, and 37-30 after three quarters.
Eight Cougars scored between four and 10 points, led by Jaden Harness’ game-high 10. Jake Skinner added eight points. Aaron Atkisson scored seven points and led Carroll in rebounds (five) and assists (four).
Treven Girard led the Falcons (0-3) with 14 points.
TAYLOR 36, CARROLL 31
The Titans endured a tight game to win on the road and move to 3-0 in the Hoosier Heartland Conference. Taylor and Clinton Prairie are the only teams without a league loss.
Alison Pemberton led a balanced Taylor squad (6-2) with eight points. Emma Good, Kelsi Langley and Lynzey Butzin each scored seven.
“[The Cougars] are a pretty good team and they were physical with us again, which is I guess the way everybody wants to play us,” Taylor coach Tony Oliver said. “We played three games in five days, two of them on the road and two of them very physical with Peru and Tipton. I’m really proud of the girls. We may not be strong physically but we sure are mentally. We’re finding ways to win now.
“Lynzey Butzin hit two 3s at the perfect time. It’s a different kid every night. This is good stuff.”
Taylor hit just 9 of 35 shots but hit 13 of 19 free throws and connected on 5 of 16 3-pointers. Carroll was held to 9 of 41 from the field, 9 of 13 from the line and hit just 4 of 27 from 3-land.
Megan Wagner led Carroll (6-3, 1-3 HHC) with 15 points. Morgan Viney added eight.