CENTERBURG — The undefeated Centerburg Trojans, led by a great team effort and an outstanding 25-point performance from post Drew Osborne, dismantled the visiting Cardington-Lincoln Pirates in the first half of their nonconference boys basketball match on Monday evening, coasting to a 75-63 victory.
With guard Collin Bumpus sidelined with an ankle injury and guard Brandt Lambert (16 points, 7-of-7 free-throw attempts) and post Skyler Simpson (eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, three points) in early foul trouble, it hardly seemed like a breakout time for the Trojans — especially against Cardington, which entered the game 5-0.
“We had some of our top people in foul trouble and the rest of them stepped up and did a great job,” said Centerburg coach Jim Simpson. “Drew had a great game. He scored, he was great on the boards and he did the little things that you need to do defensively. Everybody came into the game and did the job we wanted them to do. It was a good team effort.”
Ahead 11-5 early, the Trojans took advantage of their disadvantage and transformed into a different team. Without three of their starting seniors, the Trojans became an outside shooting team, going on a 10-4 run to widen their lead. Osborne hit a turnaround jumper to make it a 21-9 game midway through the second quarter. Two more Osborne buckets and a 3-pointer by teammate Jacob Anderson made it a 31-15 Trojan lead with less than three minutes before halftime. Centerburg was 6-of-13 from three-point range. That pulled the Pirates out of their defense and opened up the low post as the game unfolded.
“We’ve got people who can hit (those 3’s),” said coach Simpson. “Some days they drop for us and some days they don’t. Tonight they did and it worked out well for us.”
“We had a great game,” said Osborne. “Everyone distributed the ball around well. We were able to get the ball down low and we were able to make some things happen. (Hitting those 3’s) was huge. We had some players step up and hit some big shots. Skyler’s presence wasn’t there, but we had some players step up and have a big night.”
Osborne took a feed underneath from Simpson (who was back in the game) hitting a bucket with 1:29 left in the half. Guard Garrison Myles (13 points and a pair of assists) finished the half, sinking a 3-pointer to make it a 36-17 Trojans’ lead at the half. Myles sank three 3-pointers in the game.
Cardington senior Riley Thomas, who led all scorers with 31 points, looked like he might give the Trojans more than they could handle. Thomas hit a basket to start the third quarter, and drew a foul, converting at the line. Riley, later, hit a 3-pointer along with another basket to draw the Pirates to within 11 points, 40-29.
Another 3-pointer by Myles, a driving layup by guard Lyle Lindsey (nine points) and an Osborne putback on a Lindsey miss put it out of reach for the Pirates. The Trojans, who had led by as many as 19, stretched out their lead to 53-36.
It was really a team effort for the Trojans as Devon Moreland pulled down eight rebounds. The Trojans were a solid 23-of-30 at the foul line. Lambert and T.T. Thompson (four points) hit some important free throws down the stretch to keep the Trojans undefeated.
“You have to have the free throws,” said coach Simpson. “I don’t care what time of the game it is. You have to make them late — well, you have to make them early, too. We stepped up and made them when we needed too.”
“This was a huge confidence builder,” said Osborne. “Everyone needed to see how big we could be. We were able to show that we could step up and that helped everyone’s confidence.”