by Beau Wicker
Logansport’s quest to end a long losing streak against Muncie Central in boys basketball started out well enough Friday night.
But after a fast start, the Berries’ offense sputtered. The Bearcats quickly gained control before pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 55-38 win, their 14th straight over Logansport.
“The first half I thought we came out fairly well,” said Logan coach Mark Victor, whose squad trailed 29-24 at halftime. “It just started to get away from us and it kind of snowballed in the second half. I really thought we played well in the first quarter. We were moving the ball and doing some good things offensively. But once we got down we just kind of hung our heads and didn’t compete very hard. It just snowballed towards the end.”
Bo Bullard hit a 3-pointer to close the third quarter to bring the Berries to within 43-36 entering the fourth, but the Berries (9-7, 2-3 North Central Conference) were not able to carry the momentum into the final stanza.
They missed their first four shots from the field, three of which were from behind the arc, to open the fourth. They also missed two free throws and committed two turnovers. They didn’t get on the board until a jump shot by Nate Bullard with 2:15 remaining, but by then they trailed 51-38. Leading scorer Antonio Penny had also already fouled out on a charging call with 3:43 remaining.
Penny finished with 17 points, six assists and four rebounds to lead the Berries. He was 7 of 13 from the field.
“Penny’s a handful,” Muncie coach Matt Fine said. “He can catch the ball in the middle of your press and attack. We switched some things up and had a guy on him at all times on our press.
“Our pressure hurt them at times.”
Bo Bullard added 11 points for Logan. Andrew Wamsley had four points, and Nate Bullard, Jacob Snow and Jayson Higgins chipped in two apiece. Higgins had a tough night from 3-point range, where he shot 0 of 7.
Muncie Central’s Jabriel Allen, a 6-4 senior, scored eight of his game-high 23 points in the final quarter to lead the Bearcats (6-10, 1-4).
He also went on a scoring tear in the first half. After the Berries took a 13-7 lead to start the game, Allen scored 11 points over a six minute span to give the Bearcats a 22-15 lead with five minutes left in the second quarter. The Bearcats led the rest of the way.
“Jabriel, he’s our leading scorer. He had some big games earlier in the season,” Fine said. “As teams start to scout us more, they’ve put more pressure on him, and he’s starting to handle that a little better as far as being able to get open and do some things against teams that are denying him.”
Allen also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Muncie outrebounded Logan 28-22 for the game. The Bearcats shot 46.3 percent from the field and outscored Logan 14-4 from the foul line.
“We’ve improved dramatically in the last three weeks,” Fine said. “We feel like we’re way better than our record. We’ve been there in the fourth. Earlier in the year we just didn’t have the experience to grind it out. We feel like we’re getting closer to that right now.”
Kaleb Mallory had 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals for the Bearcats. Tim Barrett added eight points and five boards, and Jaylen White had six points and four boards.
Logan hosts Class 4A No. 10 Kokomo on Thursday.