The Zionsville boys basketball team knew they were going to have to be close to perfect when they welcomed No. 1-ranked Carmel Saturday, Feb. 8 if they were going to keep their 10-game winning streak attack.
Ryan Cline and his Greyhound teammates made sure that didn't happen.
Cline hit his first six 3-pointers, all in the first half, and Carmel jumped out to a big lead they never relinquished in a 43-26 win.
"They are the No. 1 team in the state for a reason," Zionsville head coach Shaun Busick said. "Ryan Cline is a Mr. Basketball candidate as far as I'm concerned coming into next year. He is remarkable. We didn't have a real good sense of urgency in the first half finding him on the 3. We let him get set and get in rhythm and you can't do that because he will knock them down."
Zionsville won the opening tip of the game, but that was one of the few things that worked well in the first half.
Zionsville had two turnovers and two missed shots on their first four possessions, while Cline coolly hit three 3-pointers to give Carmel a 9-0 lead with 4:58 left in the first quarter.
Jake Mann slowed the momentum temporarily with a 3-pointer, but Keegan Culp and Cline hit 3s on Carmel's next two possessions to make it 15-3.
"We lost him in the zone early and you can't do that," Busick said of Cline. "If you give him half a step he will knock it down. He got it at the top of the zone where it is vulnerable. He wasn't shooting them over our 6-7, 6-8 guys on the bottom, he was getting them over our 5-8 guys up top. It is something we will have to adjust when we see them. But they are a great time and one of the best in America."
The Greyhounds led 15-5 after a quarter and pushed the lead to 21-5 when Cline hit two more 3-pointers, making him 6-for-6, just 90 seconds into the second quarter.
Busick said the key at that point for the Eagles was trying to stay patient.
For more of this story, read the Feb. 12 edition of the Times Sentinel.