By Corey Elliott
INDIANAPOLIS — Inside the Ben Davis locker room there is a mural on the wall of a Giants logo that reads “Adapt. Adjust. Overcome.” and last Saturday night, that’s exactly what Ben Davis (10-3) did to defeat Decatur Central (8-5) 63-52 behind senior Jordan King’s 16 points.
The Giants trailed by three at the end of the first quarter and led by three at halftime and the end of the third quarter. The veteran leadership of King and fellow senior Tony Wills was on full display as Wills sparked a 9-0 Giants run at the beginning of the fourth quarter on a drive to the basket resulting in a three-point play. A few missed opportunities by the Hawks that resulted in Ben Davis rebounds helped King top off the run, scoring the last four points on break away layups before Decatur Central was forced to call a time out.
“It’s all about leadership,” King said. “We have to pick up everybody and make sure we know we are never out of a game until the last horn sounds. We have to make sure everyone is doing their job and maintaining their composure.”
For much of the first half, it never really seemed like either team was having their way offensively or defensively. Ben Davis knew it had a task at hand with the inside presence of Decatur Central’s LuKayus McNeill, who had 11 points, and the up-tempo style of play. Decatur’s Anthony Johnson added 17. Despite the Hawks’ efforts to push the ball, the Giants were able to settle into their type of game.
“They are big inside and they have guards that can shoot the ball very well,” Ben Davis coach Mark James said. “The tempo was pretty much the way we wanted it to be because we didn’t want it to be a race horse game. When they try and sprint on us, we can’t find Johnson, he’s too good.”
The back and forth scoring from each team resulted in lead changes and shifts in momentum that seemed insurmountable at times.
For much of this season Ben Davis has had trouble closing out games in the fourth quarter but Saturday night might have been the turning point for the Giants as they were able to outlast and outplay Decatur Central down the stretch. Ben Davis closed out the game with zero turnovers in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been pretty good about shooting ourselves in the foot in the fourth quarter,” James said. “Teams have been outscoring us in the fourth, so I thought we improved there. There are no easy games, we just have to go out and get better every game and I though we improved tonight.”
Ben Davis outscored the Hawks 23 to 15 in the fourth quarter, one of many positives the Giants can hang their hat on moving forward, but King saw more than just an encouraging non-conference win.
“Coach James always says it’s fun and times like these it does get fun,” King said. “Coming back from behind to win the game is fun for us. We’ll celebrate now, but next week we’ll prepare for our next opponent.”