By Jake Thompson
After dispatching Greencastle Friday night, the Danville boys’ basketball team upped its record to 8-1 on the year.
Danville, winner of its last five games, downed the visiting Tiger Cubs, 68-31.
While the win was impressive on many fronts, Danville coach Brian Barber was happy his team played with such effectiveness.
“Over Christmas break, you never know how things are going to materialize sometimes,” Barber said. “Guys get out of routine, but practices have been pretty good this week. We gutted out a win against Indian Creek (last week) and didn’t look sharp. We looked more sharp tonight.”
Early on, the two teams traded baskets until a 12-12 tie was reached midway through the first quarter.
Greencastle’s Anthony Mitchell hit a 3-pointer at the four-minute mark and then the Tiger Cubs went cold, not hitting another field goal until 2:32 remained in the second quarter.
Danville took advantage of Greencastle’s shooting woes, going on a 29-2 run to end the half.
“We went straight man-to-man and tried to containing their shooters a little more and as the game went on, our press wore them down a little bit,” Barber said. “We’ve been playing nine or 10 guys all year and that’s what we’re going to keep doing. Every time we sub, we want the energy level to stay high.”
Danville finished with nine players in the scoring column. Mitchell Collier led the way from the paint with 16 points. Ryan Cloncs tallied 10 points with eight rebounds and teammate Noah Cowart recorded 12 points.
“We’re trying to keep things balanced,” Barber said. “That’s what we’re trying to do and guys are doing a great job buying into that. You’ve got to leave your ego at the door and bust it for the minutes they have.”
Danville outrebounded Greencastle 42-11 and the Warriors’ work on the boards has improved since the middle of December.
“We’ve really been harping about (rebounding) the past couple of weeks, especially after the Lebanon/Plainfield weekend,” Barber said. “The guys have been more focused on the rebounding in practice and games. That’s a good sign. Everybody has to rebound and it’s a committee thing.”
Luke Callahan led Danville with nine rebounds to go along with eight points.
Leading 39-14 coming out of the break, Danville could have coasted to the win, but continued its focus and put Greencastle away in the third and fourth quarters. Danville outscored Greencastle 29-17 the rest of the way.
“We came back with our starters and gave us a good lift,” Barber said. “We talk about the first three minutes of each quarter setting the tone.”
The Warriors now turn their focus on the Hendricks County tournament coming up next week. Danville (7-1) opens with Cascade (2-7) at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Tri-West.
“You have to put three very good games together,” Barber said. “The county tourney is always competitive and we’re looking forward to getting started Tuesday night.”
Avon (3-4) is the only squad to defeat Danville this season, handing the visiting Warriors a 74-58 loss on Dec. 6.
— Follow Flyer sports editor Jake Thompson on Twitter @JacobEThompson.