The look on Warren Central Head Coach Greg Graham’s face said it all: a win is a win, and the Warriors would advance in the Marion County tournament with a 43-42 victory over Ben Davis.
“That’s the goal,” said Graham. “We saw the draw and mapped out what we were going to do and who we might probably play, and it was a hard fought game the first time we played Ben Davis at their place. It ended in overtime (a 51-50 loss for Warren Central), and we really wanted to come in and establish something. It was an ugly game in the first half, and they made some big shots down the stretch. But we kept our composure, made the free throws when it counted, and took care of the basketball, that’s how we won.”
It was perhaps the strangest high school basketball game the Marion County Tournament has seen all season long. At one point in time, the Warriors (7-4) led the Giants (8-3) by the score of 16-12 at the half. Both teams, perhaps worn down from previous games the night before, looked to be as cold as the winter weather outside.
Then in the second half the basketball game improved, and despite leading the entire way thanks to C.J. Hardaway’s 10 points and Junior Jaraan Lands 9 points, the Warriors could not shake Ben Davis away. With under a minute to play both Kendall Broome and Jordan King hit shots to keep Ben Davis in striking distance, but Warren Central’s Devon Hawkins hit a free throw to give the Warriors a 43-40 lead.
Ben Davis drove the ball down the court, opting for the quick score with a layup from Broome (14 points) with under ten seconds to play. The problem, however, is that Broome’s ball rolled promptly out of bounds away from the players and the referee. By time the ball was handed to Warren Central’s Devin Davis Jr. there was less than five seconds on the clock, and Davis Jr. stood with the ball out of bounce as the game ended with Warren Central holding on for the 43-42 victory.
With the win Warren Central will play Park Tudor on Friday night in the semifinals of the tournament.