By Matt Anderson
INDIANAPOLIS — The Ben Davis girls’ basketball team faced its toughest opponent so far last Thursday night and came out on the losing end against No. 6-ranked Lawrence North, 78-29.
The Wildcats’ full-court defense gave the Giants fits the entire first half. The Lawrence North players eased up in the final two quarters, as they entered halftime with an already comfortable 51-17 lead.
Right from the opening tip-off, Ben Davis struggled to keep a handle on the ball. They turned it over seven times just trying to inbound into the full-court pressure.
“I knew going into the season they were going to be one of the best teams in state,” Ben Davis coach Joe Lentz said. “They go after it really hard and our kids don’t handle the basketball very well.”
The game quickly spiraled out of reach after Briana Fox, who led the team with eight points, hit her first 3-pointer of the night. While it pulled the Giants to within three points at 9-6, Lawrence North closed the quarter on a 12-0 run.
The offensive struggles continued in the second quarter as Fox hit Ben Davis’ next field goal with 42 seconds remaining in the half. The Giants went almost 11 minutes without a field goal and made three shots the entire first half.
“Our kids did not approach this game well,” Lentz said. “I got that feeling in the locker room beforehand. Right now I think too many of them have the idea that you put on a Ben Davis uniform and all of a sudden everything is going to be great.”
The Giants came out of halftime dealing with the same issues, with a six-point third and fourth quarter. They finished the game 7-for-33 from the field and turned the ball over 38 times.
Lawrence North had twice the amount of opportunities on the other end, shooting 27 of 75 and turned the ball over just 13 times.
“They have an awful lot to learn about the game, about playing hard and about trying to apply the lessons in practice,” Lentz said of his team.
It has been a season of close contests for the Giants, with each of their first three games being decided by just four points. After winning their opener over Brownsburg, 47-43, the Giants lost to No. 10 Pike, 46-42, and Perry Meridian, 61-57.
It could be a few more games until the girls finally hit their stride. The team entered the year with only two players with varsity experience.
Last year’s team went on a hot streak late, going 9-1 in their final 10 games. If anything, Lentz hopes the outcome of this game can get a fire under the girls and get them more focused.
“I think in a way we needed this because hopefully, it will be a good wake up call,” he said. “I’ll find out more in the next week or so whether or not we really learned from this.”
The Giants play North Central in the Marion County tournament, starting tonight.