Despite outscoring Zionsville 19-7 in the fourth quarter Friday, Dec. 10, Brownsburg was unable to mark consecutive come-from-behind victories, falling 45-40 to the visiting Eagles.
“Tonight Zionsville played better than we did,” Brownsburg coach Joshua Kendrick said. “We did not get the ball in the right places to the right people at the right time.”
The Bulldogs (2-4) struggled offensively for most of the game. Down by 10 late in the second quarter, Chase Dutra sunk a three-pointer to cut the Eagles lead to 26-19 at the half.
The Eagles quickly added to their lead in the second half. Back-to-back three-pointers by Will Dixon and Jackson Tharp gave Zionsville a quick 13-point lead. Lay-ins by Scotty Penola and Demetrius Lawson extended the lead to 17 midway through the quarter. A pair of free throws from Kyle Thompson provided the only points for the Bulldogs in the third quarter.
“You have to credit Zionsville’s defense for keeping us off-balance,” Kendrick said. “We should have settled down and executed a lot better. We were not intense enough, our energy level was not high enough, we did not have the urgency to match theirs.”
Zionsville’s defensive effort forced the Bulldogs into difficult shots and, particularly in the third quarter, the Eagles outrebounded Brownsburg as well.
“They had 19 second-chance points, that is the ballgame there,” Kendrick said. “Zionsville had a group of young men who went after the loose balls and rebounds harder than we did. I think they wanted this one more than we did.”
In the Eagles’ 56-51 victory over Western Boone last week, the team relied on a 25-point performance from
senior Demetrius Lawson. On Friday, the team got offense from a variety of players. Luke Kennedy (11 points) and Tharp (10 points) finished in double figures for Zionsville.
“If you are going to be a good basketball team, you cannot be one-player focused — you must be multi-player focused,” Zionsville coach Shaun Busick said. “Jackson (Tharp) got us started early offensively and then other guys stepped up and hit shots. Our sophomore point guards played well, Dakich and Dixon did a great job. We needed all of those contributions tonight.”
Busick believes the undersized Eagles played their best on the defensive side of the ball.
“Our defense, for three and a half quarters, was absolutely amazing,” he said. “We followed through with the scouting report and took their scorers out of the game. Our two best defenders are Parker Dunshee and Luke Kennedy and tonight our help defense was outstanding. Our M.O. is that we are going to be gritty and tonight we did that.”
Though Zionsville played tenacious defense most of the night, they allowed 19 fourth quarter points, including 11 of the final 12.
“We did not close the game out well,” Busick said. “The team told me that, though, I did not need to tell them that. But it is a tough place to play and we are always happy to come out with a win over a very talented team (in Brownsburg).”
Zionsville moved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference and hosts No. 6-ranked Hamilton Southeastern (4-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17.