By CARLA KNAPP
Pharos-Tribune sports editor
The Logansport boys basketball team got some superb performances in Friday’s game against Class 4A No. 3 Muncie Central, but much to coach Al Rhodes’ chagrin, the Berries just didn’t get them all at the same time.
“We had several players play good in stretches, I just don’t think we played well through the whole game,” Rhodes said following his team’s 59-49 loss to the Bearcats Friday at the Berry Bowl. “This was a learning experience for us. We didn’t do as well as we would have hoped but we can still learn from it.”
The Berries (2-1, 0-1 North Central Conference) put together several impressive runs throughout the game, but they were always playing from behind.
The Bearcats’ speed and passing seemed to stun Logansport early in the game and they easily built a 13-3 lead midway through the first quarter. Ben Botts, who hit his first four field goals, poured in eight of his team-high 18 points during the stanza.
The Berries aided Muncie Central in that lead, however, by committing six turnovers, many in the half-court.
But once the shock wore off, the Berries settled down a bit and started to close the gap. Junior K.C. Victor helped swing the momentum with two huge blocks.
Along with a strong defensive effort in the game, Victor finished with 15 points, including seven in the first quarter. He and David Tribbett each hit a three-point shot in the stanza — Tribbett’s came with just four seconds left — to help Logan close down Muncie Central’s lead to five at 19-14 at the first break.
But after coming from behind last week to win a 47-38 thriller against Yorktown, the Bearcats remained poised and continued playing their game.
Muncie Central spread things out for the second quarter and into the third to help distance itself again. The team rebuilt its 10-point lead midway through the second quarter when John Peckinpaugh hit back-to-back buckets and took the score to 30-20.
Logan narrowed that lead only slightly before halftime and went into the locker room trailing 34-26. But the Berries came out swinging and muscled their way back to tie the game at 44 apiece when Victor hit a tough jumper 30 seconds into the fourth quarter.
“We made some very poor decisions when we had the lead,” said Muncie Central coach Matt Fine. “Logansport is a veteran team and they just wouldn’t go away. That’s a credit to coach Rhodes, he’s got a quality basketball club.”
Tribbett also played a crucial role in Logan’s comeback, scoring 10 of his game-high 19 points in the second half.
But that was as far as Muncie Central would allow them to go.
Bearcat senior Terry Jenkins, who stepped up to help his team pull out the win against Yorktown, had seven points in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 17. He and brother Brandon Jenkins each had five rebounds in the game as the Bearcats out-rebounded the Berries 27-14 in the contest.
In addition to Muncie Central’s strong effort on the glass, the Bearcats also amped up its defensive effort inside and didn’t allow Logansport a clear look throughout the entire fourth quarter. The Berries finished the night shooting just 18-of-45 while the Bearcats were a much stronger 23-of-42.
Part of the team’s shooting and rebounding problems, however, stemmed from the absence of Kory Rombold who went down hard midway through the third quarter and didn’t return to the game. Rhodes said Rombold is doubtful for tonight’s game against Lewis Cass.
“We were not able to establish an inside game,” said Rhodes. “Kory is a big part of that but our guards were not able to create any open shots through dribble penetration. Offensively, we just didn’t play the way we needed to play to beat a team like Muncie Central.
“They just executed better in the winning time than we did.”
By CARLA KNAPP
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