ANVILLE — The fireworks could nearly be heard back in Centerburg on Friday night. The Trojans’ boys basketball team exploded for 21 straight points in the third quarter to turn a close game with Danville into a rout, beating the Blue Devils, 60-47, in Mid-Buckeye Conference action.
Danville (8-12 overall, 4-10 MBC) led 25-21 after two free throws from Garrett Blue with just a few seconds gone in the third quarter. But, seven straight baskets, including three 3-pointers, put the Trojans (14-6, 11-3) in control and they never looked back.
“We came out and played like we’re supposed to,” Centerburg coach Jim Simpson said of the third quarter. “It took us a while to get going and we needed to get after them more in the third quarter. You’ve got to give credit to Danville. They really came to play.”
A 3-pointer from Collin Bumpus, followed by a basket from Skyler Simpson and two more 3s from Brandt Lambert got the Trojans and their fans back into the game. Danville called a time out in an attempt to slow the Trojans down, but it didn’t help as Centerburg scored 10 more in a row to end the quarter.
“They (Centerburg) played hard in the third quarter and we made some mistakes that hurt us,” said Danville coach Randy Endsley. “We made some mistakes that were critical and you can’t do that against a good team.”
Senior Rhett Harris attempted to get the Blue Devils back into the game, scoring nine straight points to pull them back to within 10, 44-34. But, two big buckets each from Simpson and Jacob White pushed it back to 19, and both teams emptied their benches.
“We really needed to get this win. We needed to get on track and get ready for the tournament,” said coach Simpson.
Danville started the game on fire, as Kelby Ball scored on a quick layup after the opening tip. The Devils had a good balance offensively and a stifling defense early, jumping out to an 8-2 lead.
“Our game plan there was to pack it in and make them beat us from the outside. It worked well early,” Endsley said. “I thought we executed well, spreading them a little bit. We made good decisions.”
The teams traded baskets in the second quarter with Danville taking a 23-21 lead into the locker room after a 3-pointer from Harris late in the quarter.
Simpson was a big key for the Trojans in the second half, scoring eight in the 21-0 run and another two baskets in the fourth to help put the game away.
“That Simpson is tough. He’s a big boy,” Endsley said. “I thought Garrett (Blue) played defense on him as well as anybody had all year in the first half. He did a nice job clogging the middle.
“It definitely wasn’t from a lack of effort tonight. Our seniors, especially, worked hard tonight.”
Simpson finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Trojans. Lambert added 10 points, while Drew Osborne had nine points and eight rebounds, Bumpus had eight points and three assists, and White had five points and four assists.
Danville was led by Harris, who had 18 points and five assists. Blue added 10 points and nine rebounds, while Weston Severns had six points and nine boards.
Centerburg also won the junior varsity game, jumping out to a big lead early en route to a 49-37 victory. Lyle Lindsey scored 15 points to lead the Trojans. Devon Moreland added 12 and Garrison Myles 10.
Danville was led by Ian Green, who scored 13 points. Shaun Durbin and Casey Sloan each added six points.
Both teams will now head to tournament play this week. Centerburg takes on West Jefferson on Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. at Mount Vernon High School, while Danville travels to Delaware on Feb. 28 at 6:15 p.m. to take on Wellington.