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December 8, 2012

Boys basketball: Cold-shooting North loses to Ben Davis after lengthy delay

TERRE HAUTE — When Ben Davis High School boys basketball coach Mark James was heading west on Interstate-70 Friday, he heard a loud noise and noticed oil splattering from the team bus in front of him onto his front windshield between the Greencastle and Putnamville exits.

After the driver pulled the bus off the road without incident, another bus was summoned. But the mechanical delay caused the Giants’ crew of players and coaches to arrive at Terre Haute North’s gym so late that the junior varsity contest started 1 1/2 hours later than scheduled — 7:30 p.m.

Ben Davis’ JV won in overtime (of course), but the Giants’ varsity didn’t need any extra time to dispose of the cold-shooting Patriots 52-36 in Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference action that ended at about 10:40.

“I was really concerned [before the game],” James admitted to the Tribune-Star. “Our kids were on a bus for three hours. Obviously, we adjusted pretty well. [The lengthy delay] was probably harder on Terre Haute North than it was on us. … They missed some shots they normally hit.

“Overall, that was a pretty big win for us. We had two starters not here and some young kids stepped up.”

Senior forward Tony Wills paced the Giants with 22 points, including 14 in the second half.

“Tony played his game,” James mentioned. “He’s a pretty good player. He didn’t try to force things. He was a Junior All-Star last season.”

When the varsity matchup finally started at about 9:20, the teams battled to an 8-8 tie through the first quarter and nothing looked out of the ordinary for the Patriots.

Then they went 2 of 13 from the field in the second period — with Steven Davis making both baskets, including one from 3-point range — and they found themselves trailing 17-13 by halftime.

After North’s Austin Lewis opened the third frame with a free throw, Ben Davis went on a 12-0 run to seize a 29-14 advantage. Back-to-back treys by Calvin Blank and Nathan Jahn and a layup by Lewis pulled the home team within 29-22 heading into the fourth quarter.

A running jumper by Lewis to open the fourth period made the score 29-24. That was as close as the Patriots could get, although a steal and a driving right-handed dunk by the 6-foot-5 Blank provided some entertainment for the home crowd midway through the final frame.

Blank finished as North’s only double-figure scorer with 13 points. He also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

Overall, however, this was considered a down night for North, which connected on only 13 of 47 field-goal attempts (27.7 percent).

“I thought defensively we did a good job on them,” North coach Todd Woelfle assessed. “We held them to 17 points in the first half. Unfortunately, we only had 13.

“Offensively, we were just never able to get in any type of rhythm or put together consecutive possessions where we had scores. … We’re going to have to get a lot better if we’re going to win games.”

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