ZIONSVILLE — The Zionsville boys basketball team had a frustrating weekend, as it lost back-to-back games.

Friday, Jan. 6, the Eagles lost 75-56 at home to a hot shooting Lafayette Jeff team, then fell in a Saturday, Jan. 7, away contest to North Montgomery, which is ranked No. 10 in Class 2A. Zionsville will look to rebound as it travels to West Lafayette Friday, Jan. 13 to face Harrison.

The Eagles dug too deep a hole Friday, Jan. 6, in the first quarter, eventually falling to the Lafayette Jeff Bronchos 75-54.

The first quarter was a struggle as the Eagles were unable to hit a single shot from the field, turned the ball over 12 times and fell behind 15-2. The only two points coming on Shawn Blankenship’s free throws with 3:40 left in the quarter.

“We got off to a slow start,” Eagles coach Dave Ferrell said. “And (Lafayette Jeff) came out with such high energy defensively that it really put us back on our heels.”

“Every team goes through stretches where guys want to make plays by themselves,” Ferrell said.

Shawn Blankenship, who led the Eagles with 12 points, said the unconventional double teams were difficult for Zionsville to overcome.

“Usually teams will double team from the top,” Blankenship said. “They brought the double team from the opposite side so we had to look across the court to find someone open.”

The Eagles opened up offensively in the second quarter, scoring 23 points, but seemingly every score was answered by one from the Bronchos. The longest run Zionsville could put together was five points as Lafayette Jeff stretched the lead out to 41-25 at halftime.

“They have so many weapons,” Ferrell said, “We’d drop off someone to double team, and that guy would be the one who hit a three pointer.”

Three Bronchos placed in double figures. Dallas Richardson hit four three-pointers en route to leading all scorers with 28 points. Cesar Munoz had 16 points and Blaine Koger put in 14 more.

“We had good post defense, and Dallas scored for us,” Broncho coach Scott Bunnell said. “But it was Cesar who really put us over with his scoring. When he is scoring consistently we play pretty well.”

The second half saw both teams go back and forth with the lead not going beneath 12 points and at no more than 18 for most of the half.

The Bronchos did put on a run late in the game to push the lead as high as 22.

Despite the first quarter struggles, the Zionsville offense was able to eventually open up scoring opportunities by moving the ball from inside out. Blankenship had 12 points, while Matt Miller, Lucas Reiff, and Greg McCormick each contributed eight.

“I thought we played all right,” Blankenship said. “It was just that first quarter had so many little mistakes.”

LAFAYETTE JEFF (5-5) — D. Richardson 12-17 0-0 28, Munoz 6-10 2-2 16, Kogar 4-7 4-5 14, Gamble 3-6 0-0 6, Poynter 2-6 1-2 5, Burford 2-3 0-0 4, Fogarty 0-0 2-2 34 Primeau 0-2 0-0 0, Oakley 0-0 0-0 0, TRichardson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 29-51 9-11 75.

ZIONSVILLE (2-8) — Blankenship 5-9 2-2 12, McCormick 3-5 2-2 8, Reiff 3-8 0-0 8, Miller 1-7 6-8 8, Haseley 3-7 0-1 7, Corey 3-5 0-0 7, Donaldson 1-3 2-2 4, Valentine 0-0 0-0 0, Tucker 0-0 0-0 0, Wiley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-44 12-15 54.

Laf. Jeff 15 26 15 19 — 75

Zionsville 2 23 17 12 — 54

Three-point field goals: Lafayette Jeff 8-18 (Richardson 4-7, Munoz 2-5, Kogar 2-4, Poynter 0-1, Gamble 0-1), Zionsville (Reiff 2-4, Corey 1-2, Haseley 1-1, McCormick 0-1, Donaldson 0-1, Miller 0-1). Rebounds: Lafayette Jeff 23 (Poynter 6), Zionsville 21(Blankenship 8) Turnovers: Lafayette Jeff 13, Zionsville 26. Total fouls: Lafayette Jeff 11, Zionsville 12. Junior varsity: Lafayette Jeff 52 (Wyant 18) Zionsville 35 (Frauhiger, Guckien 11).

Team loses close game to ranked North Montgomery

LINDEN — Zionsville had a 28-25 halftime lead against the North Montgomery Chargers, with junior Lucas Reiff scoring 16 of those Eagles points. In the first 7 minutes of the third quarter, North outscored Zionsville 16-7, and after freshman D.J. Byrd’s field goal, the home team enjoyed a 41-35 lead with 1:10 remaining in the third frame.

After scoring four points in the opening half, Byrd scored seven of his game’s 15 points during the stretch. The Eagles, however, refused to lie down. After the Charger defense limited Reiff to four points in the final 16 minutes, junior guard Greg McCormick picked up his offensive game in the second half.

McCormick scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half. McCormick hit a 3-pointer and jumper in the final 29 seconds of the third quarter, helping the Eagles get within 41-40 after three quarters.

McCormick then scored four of Zionsville’s first six fourth-quarter points and Zionsville stayed within one point (47-46) of the Chargers with 5:17 remaining in the contest. The Eagles, however, went without a field goal until 20 seconds remaining in the contest.

Starting with a 3-pointer from junior Jake German followed by a three-point play from Kevin Kyle, North scored eight of the next 10 points to take a 55-48 lead with 35 seconds remaining. McCormick’s three-pointer cut North’s lead to 55-51 and Zionsville had a chance to get even closer, but missed the front end of a one-and-one from the foul line with 10 seconds remaining.

“They came out with better intensity in the first three minutes of the second half and that was the difference in the game,” Zionsville coach Dave Ferrell said. “We played hard, we just made too many mental errors down the stretch.”

Coming into the game, Zionsville’s objective was to limit North’s offensive rebounds. Behind five rebounds from senior center Kevin Kyle, who finished with a double-double effort of 20 points and 15 rebounds, North enjoyed a 17-8 advantage on the offensive boards. Byrd, Kyle Calder and German each had three offensive rebounds. The Chargers outrebounded the Eagles 37-22.

“Our No. 1 key was blocking out and rebounding,” Ferrell said. “North Montgomery is just so physical and do a good job of hitting the boards.” A.J. Sutherlin joined Byrd and Kyle in double figures with 10 points, all of those coming in the first half. Calder and German added six points. After Reiff and McCormick, Zionsville’s next leading scorer was Shawn Blakenship with eight points. Zionsville shot 40 percent (21-for-52) from the floor.

“They are such a balanced team and that makes them hard to defend,” Ferrell said of the Chargers. “You try and concentrate on D.J. and (Kevin) Kyle and German hits a couple of 3’s that put the nail in the coffin.”

In the junior varsity game, Drew Tharp hit a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining to give the Eagles a 44-41 victory. Zach Frauhiger and Tyler Gucklen led Zionsville with 12 points, while Tharp had seven.


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