DANVILLE — Danville had Mid-Buckeye Conference champion Centerburg on the ropes Monday, looking for the knockout blow. But, the Trojans were able to absorb all the big punches, remained on their feet and escaped with an 86-78 victory at Danville.
“It’s that way every year. We come down here every year, even with the best teams I’ve had, and struggled,” said Centerburg coach Jim Simpson.
Danville (5-15, 1-13) took it to the Trojans (12-2, 16-4) from the start, jumping out to a 6-2 lead before the fans had hardly settled in their seats.
“I think we had mismatches that we wanted, especially Nick Stover. He was able to get some penetration and made some nice buckets for us,” said Danville coach Doug Selvey. “Our basketball IQ has increased over the season. The kids are knowing where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing when they get there.”
The Devils spread the wealth around in the first quarter, as Robbie Moreland and Shawn Durbin had five points each, and Stover and Wes Severns had four each. That balanced attack helped the Devils take an 18-17 lead after one quarter.
But, a change in defense helped the Trojans slow down the Devils in the second quarter. Centerburg went to a zone defense for a while and stymied the Devils offensively, pushing the lead up to as many as six points.
“They (Danville) made their shots and they did what they wanted to do — penetrated. We let them do that,” Simpson said of the first quarter. “We wanted to keep them from getting to the paint and make them shoot outside. It changed them up a little bit. We had let them get in a groove with the man-to-man so we had to change things up.”
Centerburg got it going offensively in the third quarter, opening up an eight-point lead (52-44), but Danville scored the next seven to close the gap.
“We had some calls that put the kids in a situation to win. It gave them the opportunity to make some steals and make a little bit of a run. And that’s what they did,” Selvey said.
The frantic pace through three quarters only got faster in the fourth. Centerburg pushed the lead to 10, but Danville bounced right back and closed within four. Leading by just six with 1:25 left in the game, the Trojans were finally able to put the game away behind the play of senior Lyle Lindsey. Lindsey scored six points in an 8-0 run by the Trojans that put the game on ice.
Centerburg, which made 27 of 34 free throws for the game, hit 15 of 16 free throws in the final quarter to seal the victory.
The Trojans also had a balanced attack offensively, as four players scored in double figures. Drew Osborne poured in 21 points on 7 of 9 shooting from both the field and the free-throw line to lead the Trojans. He also handed out four assists. Lindsey and Brandt Lambert added 18 points each, with Lambert also pulling down 11 rebounds. Skyler Simpson added 13 points and eight boards.
“That’s the way we’ve been all year. We depend on a lot of people to do a lot of stuff and have been getting four or five guys to step up,” coach Simpson said.
Danville was led by Durbin, who had 19 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Moreland added 17 points, Stover had 16 and Severns 14 for the Devils.
“These kids have a never-say-die attitude. They never give up, no matter the situation,” Selvey said.
Both teams will open play in the tournament this week. Centerburg will play Amanda-Clearcreek on Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. at Gahanna, while Danville will take on Madison Christian on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Westerville North.
Marcus Durbin hit a three with one second left to send the game to overtime, then scored seven points in the extra frame to lead the Blue Devils to a 59-56 victory over Centerburg in the junior varsity contest.
Durbin finished with 26 points to lead all scorers. Quinten Ferenbaugh added 10 for the Blue Devils, which trailed by five points with less than 30 seconds left in regulation.
Centerburg was led by Christian Jayjohn, who had 10 points. Zac Schneider, Jacob Teale and Chase Cochran all had eight.