BY GREG FLINT
DELPHI, Ind. —
The Fountain Central boys’ basketball team traveled to face the host Delphi Oracles for the championship of 2A Sectional 38 with the Mustangs ending up on the short end of a 57-47 score.
Fountain Central got off to the kind of start they hoped for as they had leads of 5-0 and 7-2 thanks to free throws by Luke Davenport, a trey from Michael Duane and a runner from Ethan Woodrow.
Delphi began to pull back into the game when they hit a trey and followed it with a pair of baskets. The Oracles eventually tied the game at 11-all going into the second quarter.
The Mustangs fell behind for the first time as the second quarter started, but Sam Woodrow immediately tied the score.
The lead went back to the Oracles as they hit a trey, but the Mustangs came back with a free throw from Brad Bowlus and a short jumper by Ethan Woodrow to tie the game at 16 apiece.
Then came a play that hurt the Mustangs.
Delphi hit a three at the same time as a Mustang tried to fight through a screen. Most of the night that play was not a foul, but this time, it was a bit too obvious and the official blew his whistle.
The foul call gave the ball right back to the Oracles, who promptly made another basket.
The five-point play put the Mustangs down five and they would have to play catch-up the rest of the contest.
Delphi upped the lead to seven, but Fountain Central kept fighting back.
Koby Pierce made two free throws and Davenport hit a trey to pull the Mustangs within 23-21, at halftime.
The Oracles made a run right after intermission and regained their seven-point lead, but once again, the Mustangs countered.
Sam Woodrow scored back-to back baskets and, after a Delphi score, Pierce made a lay-up that put the deficit at three midway through the third quarter.
The game went flat for a couple of minutes before Delphi scored seven straight to lead 37-27 with a minute left in the period.
Ethan Woodrow stopped the three-minute Mustang drought with a pair of free throws, but Delphi worked for a last-second trey that put them up 40-29 going into the fourth quarter.
Fountain Central cut the margin to six when Sam Woodrow made a free throw and a trey, but Delphi answered with a trey of their own – one of nine they would hit on the night.
After an Ethan Woodrow putback and a Sam Woodrow three-pointer with 4:05 to go, the margin was down to five, but once again, the Oracles hit one of their threes to up the lead again.
They would go on to hit another three and some two-point baskets to extend the lead to 11 before Fountain Central made one last run.
Davenport hit a trey, but the Mustangs could do no more than play the foul game as the clock ticked down.
“We had trouble matching up with their guards,” said Fountain Central head coach Jason Good after the game. “Our advantage was inside, but they kept us playing four or five feet beyond the three-point line and we couldn’t get the ball inside like we wanted.”
On the other end of the court, Good said his team played “pretty well” as they tried to deny the ball to 6 foot-8 inch Cole Murray who had a 22 ppg average coming into the contest.
Good had 5-9 Duane cover him most of the night except on switches and said that the senior guard “really shut him down until we had to go at them late in the game.”
He said he was proud of how the senior class contributed to one of the best boys’ basketball records in recent school history, saying they were “leaders who would lay it on the line every night.”
Good concluded, saying, “I thought we played well, they were just a better team than we were. You hate to say that, but it’s a fact. We played hard but they got the win.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org