BY CHAD DARE
DELPHI, Ind. —
Coaches preach about needing a total team effort to be successful.
On Friday night, Fountain Central coach Jason Good saw one of best examples of teamwork and it resulted in his Mustangs reaching tonight’s Class 2A sectional championship game.
Fountain Central had four different players score in double figures, the Mustangs had five different players pull down five or more rebounds, and they also had 13 assists on 22 baskets.
All of that added up to a 62-37 victory for Fountain Central over Carroll in the Class 2A Delphi Sectional semifinals.
“We have a lot of players that can score in double figures,’’ said Fountain Central senior Luke Davenport, who finished with 12 points and a game-high six assists. “It’s more about teamwork and everyone getting each other the ball.’’
And senior teammate Sam Woodrow, who had 12 points and seven rebounds, pointed out that it makes the Mustangs (18-4) “a very dangerous team.’’
“I don’t think there are too many teams that have four players averaging in double figures,’’ he added.
And during this season, Fountain Central has had six different players score in double figures.
Joining Davenport and Sam Woodrow in that category on Friday night was sophomore Ethan Woodrow with a game-high 16 — 11 of those coming in the first half — and senior guard Michael Duane finished with 10.
“The balance is a strength for us,’’ Good said. “We have a lot of guys that can score, and that’s what I want.
“It’s a lot of fun to be on a team like that.’’
It certainly was enjoyable for Fountain Central on Friday night at Delphi.
But, those scoring numbers were just a part of the winning formula for the Mustangs.
Good’s biggest concern entering the sectional semifinals against Carroll (12-10) was the size of the Cougars and their ability to crash the boards.
“We don’t get to see them a lot, but they have a reputation of being a big, physical team,’’ Good said. “That was a concern, and I thought we did a great job with it.’’
Fountain Central, which had been outrebounded by its opponents this season, won the battle of the boards against Carroll.
The Mustangs, with just one player taller than 6-foot-3, pulled down 38 rebounds, while the Cougars, with four players 6-5 or taller, had just 27.
“That was the main thing we talked about this week, was keeping them off the glass,’’ said Sam Woodrow. “Coach really stressed they were a very good offensive rebounding team, we had to box our more tonight.
“This was our best rebounding game. We were able to box out. We got great position, and we got the rebounds.’’
Fountain Central had three players, Sam Woodrow, Ethan Woodrow and Koby Pierce, share team-high honors with seven rebounds each, while Duane had six and Brad Bowlus came off the bench to pull down five.
“We haven’t been a dominant rebounding team at all this season,’’ Good said. “But tonight, we had everyone going to the boards and our guards really helped out.’’
And when the Mustangs’ backcourt wasn’t helping clean the glass, they were applying great defensive pressure on the Cougars.
“I was really happy with the way we defended them,’’ Good said. “We tried to selectively trap. Looking back at their schedule, it seemed like they struggled against some teams with quickness.
“We didn’t get a lot of turnovers, but we got some big ones.’’
Fountain Central capitalized on seven Carroll turnovers in the first half, converting them into 13 points allowing the Mustangs to build a 30-16 halftime lead.
“Coach told us to get up in them, pressure them, trying to make them make mistakes,’’ said Davenport. “We knew their guard play wasn’t the best, we knew they were bigger and not quite as fast.’’
Duane and Pierce each finished with three steals to lead Fountain Central.
With the victory, the Mustangs advance to their fourth straight sectional championship game and Fountain Central will attempt to win back-to-back titles for the first time in 22 years.
“I think it give us a boost, because we want to get back-to-back championships,’’ Sam Woodrow said. “Last year, we were by-far the biggest underdog in winning the sectional title.
“This year, we’re still a little bit of an underdog.’’
Fountain Central will play Delphi, a 78-37 winner over Clinton Central, in the 6 p.m. title game tonight at Delphi.
The Oracles (18-5) have won 20 sectional titles in their history with the last one coming in 2004.