News From Terre Haute, Indiana

High School

February 7, 2014

Relentless: Ben Davis shoots 81 percent from field in final three quarters, rolls past Terre Haute South

TERRE HAUTE — Ben Davis doesn’t get in a hurry offensively, but the visiting Giants still pulled away from Terre Haute South pretty quickly in a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school basketball game Friday night.

The Braves were in good shape near the midpoint of the first quarter, leading 5-4 and seeing Ben Davis star Brennan  Gillis on the bench after two fouls in the first 90 seconds. But the Giants shot 81 percent from the field in the last three quarters and dominated the backboards in embarrassing fashion, routing the host team 63-33.

“They were just better than us tonight in every facet,” coach Scott Ridge of the Braves said after the game.

Here are two stats in eight-minute segments that demonstrate what kind of night it was for Ben Davis.

The Giants’ worst quarter was the fourth, in which their reserves — who had been in the game for good since the last couple of minutes of the third quarter — were outscored 16-10, and yet the visitors didn’t miss a shot that entire period.

The other quarter that told a story was the first. Ben Davis only shot 58 percent in those eight minutes, but they kept the Braves from getting a single rebound.

 Of the 14 players South used, in fact, 10 were blanked on the boards.

“I thought our defense was fine,” Ridge said, “but we couldn’t rebound.”

South’s 5-4 lead held up until the 4:27 mark of the first period, when a Chris Evans basket put the Giants ahead. Ben Davis point guard Michael Beaty — who is probably heavier than any player on South’s roster — went coast to coast with a defensive rebound and the Giants followed with two layups and a rebound basket for a 14-5 margin.

A gradual 8-0 run in the second quarter by the deliberate visitors widened the lead to 25-9, but South had maybe its best flurry of the evening in the final moments of the first half. Three points by Greg Newton, a basket — on an offensive rebound — and an assist by Spence Tofaute and a driving layup by Tre Minnett got the Braves within 12 points before Beaty worked inside for a layup as the half ended.

To say the least, however, South didn’t build on that momentum.

The 6-foot-6 Gillis returned to start the third quarter and his teammates found him immediately for three layups. One of them was a play that could have typified the game: surrounded by two South defenders who deflected his entry pass, Gillis snatched the ball away and calmly laid it in, unhindered by bodies hanging on him.

By the end of the third quarter South trailed 53-17 — that’s a 23-1 quarter — and the rest of the game was just for practice.

“We’ve been up and down like a yo-yo, but tonight we played pretty well as a group,” coach Mark James of the Giants said afterward. “Other kids stepped up [after Gillis got the quick fouls] and that’s what we needed to happen. … Our defense was pretty good.”

The Giants also shot 74 percent from the field, James was reminded.

“We took good shots,” the coach understated, “and anytime you hit shots, you look good.”

The Braves had a new starting lineup on Friday, with Logan Dinkel and Da’Shon Heyen joining regulars Timmy Herrin, Conner Shipley and freshman Jaylen Minnett. If the Braves had a bright spot, it might have been Dinkel.

“We’ve been trying to mix it up and find something,” said Ridge, who twice substituted five-man platoons during the third quarter. “Logan Dinkel always plays harder than any guy on the court and that’s why he’s out there. He’d do anything for the team.”

Reserve Ian Deiters buried four 3-pointers and led Ben Davis with 12 points, while Gillis — in perhaps six minutes on the court —  and Beaty scored 10 each. Jaylen Minnett had six points and Tofaute three rebounds for South.

The Braves are right back in action this afternoon, traveling to Terre Haute North to play Evansville Reitz. Varsity tipoff is approximately 2:30 p.m.

“We’re undefeated on North’s court [site of the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic],” Ridge pointed out.

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