By Matt Anderson
— The Ben Davis girls’ basketball team won its regular season finale last Thursday night at Lawrence Central, 55-50.
The Giants used size to their advantage as their three tallest girls paved the way. Ae Rianna Harris led the team with 14 points while Danielle Cuttino and Amber Jones contributed 13 each.
Jones carried the squad in the first quarter with 11 of the team’s 19 points. Harris was steady all night, with two points in the first quarter and four in each of the rest.
It was Cuttino, however, that shined when the Giants really needed her.
She had one point in the first half and sat out all but one minute of the third quarter due to foul trouble. When she left the game, the Giants were up by five. When she re-entered to start the fourth quarter, the Giants were down by four.
“As much defensively as offensively, she’s somebody they have to take care of to try and block out,” Ben Davis coach Joe Lentz said. “And if they don’t have to worry about that, they have a much better chance of getting rebounds, which they did. We’re obviously a different team when she’s on the floor.”
Upon re-entering, Cuttino proceeded to score the team’s first 10 points of the quarter and helped cut Lawrence Central’s lead to one. At the three-minute mark, Harris scored and put the Giants in the lead again for good.
“Once I actually got the chance to get in, I kind of took advantage of it to put more points up and play harder,” Cuttino said.
The Giants opened and finished the game strong. They outscored the Bears in the fourth quarter 18-9, and opened the game with a 19-8 first quarter lead.
In the first, Ben Davis shot 8 of12 and only committed two turnovers. In the fourth, they shot 7 of 11 and again only committed two turnovers.
“Getting the ball inside, which is obviously our strength, we were pretty patient both quarters, much more disciplined than we’ve been a lot of times and we stepped up defensively,” Lentz said.
Lawrence Central got the better of Ben Davis in the middle quarters. The Giants turned the ball over 10 times in that span.
Lawrence Central’s biggest deficit came after the first quarter but shrank tremendously after a 15-6 run midway through the second.
For a short stretch, the Bears had three consecutive three-point possessions that got them to within two of the Giants. Lawrence Central’s Kyra Tucker had 12 points in the quarter and led all scorers with 23 in the game.
Ben Davis entered having lost its last three games. With sectionals looming on Feb. 6, Lentz said he knew the team had to play better ball to get some type of momentum heading into the first round.
“Of course, we had to get off on a winning note before the tournament,” he said. “It was obviously a point of emphasis to play well and by this point of the season, moral victories aren’t very good.”
The Giants drew (7-12) Decatur Central in the first round of sectionals. In their only matchup of the year on Jan. 10, the Giants came out victorious over the Hawks, 62-52.