By Jake Thompson email@example.com
Hendricks County Flyer
---- — PLAINFIELD — On a night that Plainfield celebrated a 15-year reunion for its 1999 Class 3A boys’ state championship basketball team, the Quakers split with Mid-State Conference rival Decatur Central in a girls’/boys’ doubleheader.
Plainfield’s girls dominated throughout for a 67-58 victory over the Hawks, one that was more lopsided than the score indicated, while the boys fell 76-64. Defense played a big part in both games.
“I thought we played really, really well,” Plainfield girls’ coach Curt Benge said. “For us to get up 22 there early in the fourth, we were playing really well.
“We had some lulls there at the end of the second and the fourth. I thought that was pretty close to as well as we could play in 26 minutes.”
Kyndall Spears led Plainfield with 14 points and seven rebounds while Kayla Casteel also tallied 14.
“She’s really good off the ball defensively, she rebounded the ball well, was able to finish around the basket and that’s big for us,” Benge said of Spears.
Casteel sparked the Quakers with a 5-0 run to begin the contest and the Quakers’ defense held the Hawks in check. Decatur Central tallied its first field goal of the quarter at the 2:25 mark and Plainfield led 17-6 heading to the second.
“We haven’t been executing game plans how I would like and I thought they did a really nice job with that defensively tonight,” Benge said.
In a half marred by 23 fouls, Decatur Central stayed in the game by hitting 10 of 18 from the charity stripe. The Hawks scored just three field goals in the second quarter.
Plainfield doubled its first quarter output thanks in part to Mackenzie Reeder’s strong rebounding that equaled extra shots. Spears took advantage knocking down two field goals and four free throws to lead the Quakers in the second.
Decatur cut Plainfield’s lead to 10 at the beginning of the third, but Plainfield stretched that to a 53-34 advantage heading into the fourth.
Sophia Wilson started Plainfield out on a 5-0 run to begin the fourth and the Quakers built up a 60-39 advantage before letting Decatur climb back in near the end.
“We have to continue to get better and the big thing is to get rid of the lulls,” Benge said. “We have them in every game and if we can get rid of them we can be a competitive basketball team.”
Plainfield’s boys played good defense in stretches, but gave up too many runs to Decatur in key parts of the contest.
“We have to defend better,” Plainfield coach Andy Weaver said. “It’s hard to win high school basketball games giving up (so many) points. We have to shore it up on the defensive end.”
Plainfield gave up a 10-0 run to begin the game as Decatur went 4 for 4 from the floor during that stretch. A Nathan Mills basket and free throw finally started Plainfield out with points at the 4:45 mark in the quarter.
Mills would finish with a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds.
Decatur finished on an 8-4 run to end the first but Plainfield responded to open the second quarter.
Sparked by a technical foul on Decatur Central’s Tommy Stevens, Plainfield capped a 14-0 run with two free throws by Bobby Jensen.
Decatur scored its first points of the quarter with 2:55 left, but ended with a 15-5 run and led 33-28 at the break.
“Our defense to end the half was not strong,” Weaver said.
Decatur opened up a 39-28 lead after the half following three consecutive Quakers turnovers. Plainfield went on an 8-2 run to get within two of the Hawks but would come no closer.
Decatur hit 26 of 29 free throws on the night and went 15 of 17 in the fourth, sealing Plainfield’s fate.
— Follow Hendricks County Flyer sports editor Jake Thompson on Twitter @JacobEThompson.