The Ben Davis Giants boys’ basketball team had warmed up to a 4-1 record in January, but Class 4A No. 2 Carmel chilled the Giants into their coolest offensive output of the season and iced them 52-32 on Friday night.
The Greyhounds were very precise and disciplined in their play, showing plenty of the same traits that took the last two Carmel teams to Class 4A state championships.
Carmel opened to a 12-2 advantage as the pace favored the Greyhounds with mostly long possessions, and few fast breaks. And though Ben Davis edged as close as three points (18-15) in the final minute of the first half, a 14-0 start to the second half left Carmel in control of the entire contest.
Seeing Carmel play well was no surprise to Ben Davis coach Mark James.
“We knew what (Carmel) would do,” James said. “They played extremely hard and extremely smart. Carmel is well coached, and played harder than we did. We did not deserve to play with them tonight, and that was the bottom line.”
However, the Giants offensive play or lack thereof was more unexpected, especially as Ben Davis managed a mere 10 shot attempts in the first half.
“We just did not execute very well on offense or defense,” James said. “We sort of regressed. It was like we were confused as to what a good shot is. Then, we turned it over too much because we were not taking shots. This far into the season, we should not be having that problem.”
While it was easy to be impressed that Carmel’s tightly packed zone defense had worked as intended, James may have been more impressed with the Greyhounds efficiency on offense, where Carmel finished 19 of 29 (65.5 percent) from the floor.
“Carmel has long possessions, which makes you not show defensive patience,” James said. “They managed to get easy buckets because we just broke down. The next thing you knew, we were down eight, and we panicked and stopped running our offense.”