By Jake Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — The Ben Davis boys’ basketball team improved to 2-1 on the season Saturday night with a 51-44 win over the visiting Southport Cardinals.
Ben Davis spread the ball around offensively and finished with eight players in the score column.
However, with the season being so young, it’s no surprise Ben Davis coach Mark James found areas the Giants need to improve.
“Overall, I thought defensively we did really well and offensively we sort of stunk it up a little bit there,” he said.
Ben Davis finished with 16 turnovers, six more than Southport, a factor James said was caused by the Giants’ desire to push the ball.
“We get sped up for no reason,” James said. “Turnovers are huge and we can’t have a lot of those because the people we play have a lot of success. I thought the turnovers hurt us and I thought we were a little sluggish from last night.”
Ben Davis fell to rival Pike 64-56 on Friday and Brennan Gillis carried the load for the Giants, finishing with 28 points. Gillis spent most of Saturday night banging with Southport’s 6-foot-10 center Joey Brunk, giving up four inches of height to the sophomore.
Gillis, who led Ben Davis with 14 points, picked up his third foul with 3:16 left in the third and Tylor Shane entered the game. Shane picked up three fouls in the third, giving Gillis a much-needed break.
“(Shane), I thought, did pretty well,” James said. “He just made some fouls he didn’t need to make.
“Brennan didn’t get to sit at all last night, so we needed to get him some time sitting tonight. So, it was probably a good thing for us down the road.”
The game was tied at 10-10 after the first and Ben Davis pulled ahead at the break. Ian Deiters bookended the quarter with 3-pointers, the latter coming with 38 seconds remaining in the half to give Ben Davis a 23-20 lead.
A slow third quarter gave way to an offensive fourth as Ben Davis scored 19 and Southport tallied 18 behind the 10-point output of Malik Bennett.
“When (Bennett) got going, we didn’t think he was ever going to slow down,” James said. “He played a really nice game against us.”
Ben Davis hit 9 of 13 free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach.
“Everybody wants to do that,” James said. “Shooting the ball is kind of like driving on ice, you can do everything right and it still doesn’t work out for you. We were fortunate tonight and hit some shots when we needed to.”
Gillis lead all scorers with 14 and Deiters, Michael Beaty, and DeShon Tate each chipped in eight.
Southport edged Ben Davis 25-23 in rebounding and tallied 11 turnovers compared to the Giants’ 16.
“Those are (two) areas we really need to concentrate on in the next couple of weeks,” James said. “The biggest thing is turnovers and we aren’t doing a very good job of getting to the backboards. We’re not real big, but we’re pretty athletic. A lot of our possessions defensively, we’re not getting the ball. We’re not touching people on the boards.”
-Follow Westside Flyer sports editor Jake Thompson on Twitter @JacobEThompson.