CENTERBURG — The Centerburg boys basketball team survived a scare Friday night.
The Trojans led Danville by 16 points entering the fourth quarter, but needed some good free-throw shooting and a little luck to pull out a 63-59 victory in Mid-Buckeye Conference action at Centerburg.
“We had a 16-point lead, what we wanted, but they scrapped and about pulled it (the upset) off,” said Centerburg coach Jim Simpson. “They (Danville) just played harder than we did the last quarter. When we have a lead like that, we should be able to put the game away.”
“We’ve talked about changing the mentality at Danville for basketball. I really thought that even though we didn’t win, we did not quit tonight,” said Danville coach Doug Selvey. “We took the No. 2 team in the league and went toe-to-toe with them at their place. I’m proud of the way the kids played tonight.”
The Trojans (8-7 overall, 7-4 MBC) had opened up a nine-point lead in the first half, but Danville didn’t go away, closing it to five (29-24) at intermission when Shaun Durbin hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
That momentum was short lived, though, as the Trojans found its shooting touch from the outside in the third quarter. Three straight treys, including two by Drew Osborne, helped the Trojans open up a 16-point lead.
But, Danville was not quite ready to go home, especially guard Bryce Staats.
The sophomore scored 16 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter as Danville slowly closed the gap to as little as one point with 25 seconds left (60-59).
“He’s tough. The longer I have Bryce on my team, the less coaching I have to do,” Selvey said. “His basketball IQ is unbelievable. He dropped 28 points on a league opponent — that says a lot.”
Centerburg was able to keep the Devils at bay thanks to its free-throw shooting in the final quarter. The Trojans made 8 of 9 in the final 1:36 of the game, and 18 of 23 for the game. Troy Lemke hit 5 of 6 from the stripe in the final minute, but it was Osborne’s rebound of his only miss that may have sealed it for the Trojans.
After Osborne got the rebound, he got the ball to Jacob Sutton, who was fouled with 12 seconds left. He made both free throws to put the game out of reach.