Lawrence North Athletics
And then there were two.
The Marion County tournament continued on Friday with convincing wins by the Lawrence Township schools. Lawrence North dismantled Ben Davis, 73-60, in game one of Friday’s doubleheader. Lawrence Central shook off a strong opening punch from Pike to win 70-55. A second Battle for Lawrence Township will decide the winner of 101st Marion County tournament.
What were the biggest takeaways from Friday’s semifinals?
BEN DAVIS NEEDS TO FIND ANOTHER SCORING OPTION
It’s been a rough first half of the season for Ben Davis. The outlook for the rest of the season looks even worse with Thursday’s news the announcement that sharpshooter Kai Steinman had transferred.
Ben Davis could’ve used Steinman’s shooting ability to stretch the floor on Friday. In the first of (at least) two matchups against Lawrence North, Ben Davis was unable to hit from distance until the fourth quarter.
Senior G Rob Fry has emerged as a go-to scorer for this Giants team, but he alone can’t carry this team. Senior F Jackson Gowdy was the only other Ben Davis player to finish in double figures, but his play has been uneven throughout the season. Until the team truly connects on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor, the struggles will only continue for Ben Davis.
LAWRENCE NORTH CAN WIN IN MULTIPLE WAYS
The final score between Lawrence North and Ben Davis was not indicative of how dominant the Wildcats were on Friday. Leading scorer Tony Perkins finished with 18, just below his season average. 10 Lawrence North players finished with at least one point on the box score.
What was most surprising about Friday’s win was that Lawrence North only hit four three-pointers. Through 13 games, the Wildcats have converted around 39 percent of their shots beyond the arc.
The Wildcats have the talent and versatility to win in different fashions. Lawrence North didn’t need to take many three-point attempts against Ben Davis, mostly because they were dominant in the post. Even on a night when Lawrence North has a bad shooting night, the Wildcats are capable of playing lockdown defense. This ability to win in different ways can only help the Wildcats come March.
DJ HUGHES IS A PROBLEM
One week after a quiet performance in an overtime win at Warren Central, Lawrence North F DJ Hughes made his presence known on both ends of the floor. Hughes finished with 14 points, but his biggest impact was in the post. Hughes gobbled up defensive and offensive rebounds and dominated in the low block when defending against the Ben Davis frontcourt.
While Perkins may get most of the attention as the leading scorer and future Iowa Hawkeye, Hughes has plenty of time to make a name for himself. The junior has already picked up several offers from mid-major Division I schools, including in-state programs like Ball State, Evansville and IUPUI.
FRIDAY WAS AN OFF NIGHT FOR PIKE
Pike has a had a decent start to their season. The Red Devils have already picked up noteworthy wins over Hamilton Southeastern, Fishers and Warren Central. Coincidentally, their only losses have come against conference foes – an early season loss to Ben Davis and now twice to Lawrence Central.
Friday night was just not a good night for Pike. After falling behind by nine at the half, Pike cut the deficit to five to make it a two-possession game. That was as close as the Red Devils would get to catching up to Lawrence Central. Lawrence Central had an answer to every punch that Pike threw on Friday night.
Leading scorer Davion Bailey struggled on Friday night, only scoring nine points on eight attempts. As the second half wore on, Bailey and the rest of the Pike offense looked rushed, settling for jump shots rather than waiting for a better shot opportunity. Pike still has plenty of opportunities to improve in the second half of the season, with games still to come against Brownsburg, Lawrence North and Warren Central.
LAWRENCE CENTRAL AND LAWRENCE NORTH ARE A CUT ABOVE THE REST
This week’s Marion County Tournament could’ve been renamed the MIC Invitational. The MIC went undefeated against out-of-conference opponents in the field. Every MIC school that was knocked out – Ben Davis, North Central, Pike and Warren Central – came in a match against another MIC school.
With the Marion County Tournament serving as the unofficial halfway point of the season, this seems like a good time to stack up the teams within the MIC. This year the MIC can be broken down into three tiers – teams that are bona fide state title contenders, teams that will finish in the middle of the conference standings, but are still capable of going on a deep tournament run and teams that will likely finish in the bottom half of the conference.
Tier I – Lawrence Central, Lawrence North
Tier II – Warren Central, Pike, Carmel
Tier III – Ben Davis, Center Grove, North Central
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