On Feb. 25, the boys basketball team faced off against their final conference opponent of the season, Pike High School, and they are currently 15-5, 4-2 in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference.
After bouncing back from a five-game losing streak, the boys were able to rebound with a winning streak of their own. The team took their first loss of the season to the Lawrence North Wildcats by a score of 59-55. This loss proved to put a strain on the Warriors as they lost their next four games in a row, giving the boys five total losses and putting the Warriors into a rough patch.
“Our team was struggling with selfishness and not sharing the ball and playing together like we expect. We had to have some strong conversations about roles and that has helped us move in the right direction,” head coach Garrett Winegar said.
The boys were able to follow the guidance given by Winegar and coaching staff and take it into their next few games as they were able to end their losing streak. The boys picked up a win against conference opponent the North Central Panthers with a final score of 63-61 and the Muncie Central Bearcats, 75-43, securing two wins for the program.
While they were able to defeat the Panthers, they were also able to defeat another traditionally strong MIC team, the Center Grove Trojans. Traveling away to compete against the Trojans, the Warriors were met with a strong, well-rounded conference team and they hoped to secure an additional win. With a final score of 48-43, the Warriors played a strong, hard game and were able to defeat their third conference opponent. Throughout the season, conference play has proved to continuously be tough competition for the Warriors as conference games are close in score and could often fall either way.
“When you play in the MIC, you are going to play in a lot of close games, being able to perform in those situations is the difference between a good team and a great team,” Winegar said. “In those moments I just try to keep our guys calm, engaged and focused on the next possession. There are a lot of momentum swings throughout the game, and whether we’re up eight or down eight you can’t get too high or too low.”
On Feb. 11, the boys traveled to Decatur Central High School to take on the Hawks and were able to come away with the win by a score of 67-56. The Warriors led in every statistic including points, rebounds, assists and steals, with top scorer being junior Malik Stanley.
“Decatur is a very strong and athletic team. We have to match their toughness and energy,” Winegar said. “They have some guys with a lot of varsity experience and guys who have played a lot of ball together.”
After facing Decatur Central, the boys racked up three additional wins against Southport, Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy and Carmel.
“To the boys, we just emphasize constant improvement. Get better every day and be the best team we can be as we hit the tournament,” Winegar said. “As coaches, we look at the big picture and where we need to be as we hit March, but we don’t look ahead much with the guys. We just focus on the next opponent and go one game at a time.”
On March 3, the boys will travel to Lawrence Central to play in their first round of sectional play. The team will play Indianapolis Arsenal Technical Titans who they faced in the first game of the 2019 season and won 81-67. They hope to once again defeat the Titans to advance to round two where they could face the North Central Panthers. Sectional 10 is a traditionally tough sectional, but the team plans to play their hardest no matter who they may face.
“I hope as a team we can go to state and win state,” senior Cortland Jackson said. “I think to get there we just need to keep coming together as a team and keep our heads in it and not let ourselves get a big head.”