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Pike continues rolling, advances to county title game
January 12, 2013VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Indiana
By Brian Peloza
For VYPE Magazine (Central Indiana)
There may be bad news for Class 4A teams across the state: Pike hasn’t yet reached its peak.
It’s a scary thought after the Red Devils remained undefeated with an 85-78 win over Lawrence North in a semifinal of the Marion County Tournament on Friday at Southport Fieldhouse.
Pike will host Class 2A No. 1 Park Tudor in tonight’s tournament championship, looking to win the school’s second title in three seasons.
“We’re not totally there, which is the good thing” Pike coach Bill Zych said. “We’re undefeated but I think we can get better.”
Motivation won’t be difficult to find against Park Tudor, but more for what’s on the line as much as the opponent.
The Red Devils (12-0) want the title of county champs back, losing it last season to North Central. Prior to the game on Friday, the traveling trophy sat at midcourt, engraved with the winning team’s name from each season.
“Last year we felt short of our goal and I feel like this year we can contend,” said Pike senior Taishaun Johnson, who scored a game-high 27 points. “I felt like we really came together (against Lawrence North) and showed we can play with any team in the state.”
Pike’s two Div. I recruits - Jordan Pickett (Loyola) and Zavier Turner (Ball State) were each held in check during the first three quarters, Pickett by foul trouble.
Johnson picked up the slack, scoring 13 points in the second quarter and eight more in the third. In the fourth quarter Pickett provided four points and several nice assists, while Turner had eight points, including a 3-pointer that proved to be the dagger.
After Johnson split a pair of free throws, Pike held a 76-72 lead with just under two minutes remaining. The Red Devils got a defensive stop and then Turner hit a 3-pointer from the corner that gave them a 79-72 lead with 1:20 left.
In the end, Lawrence North coach Jack Keefer could only point to the 27 points scored by Johnson as the main reason for his team’s second defeat of the season
“If we could have held him to a reasonable number I think that would have made a big difference for us,” Keefer said. “I like the way we played (offensively), we just have to stop them.”
Daeshon Francis led Lawrence North with 22 points, while Basil Smotherman, a Purdue recruit, finished with 17 points.
Pickett finished with 16 points, while Turner had 15.
“Boy is it great to have three guards who can handle it in a game like this,” Zych said of Johnson, Pickett and Turner. “Even though our defense wasn’t very good tonight, it made the key stops when we had to in order to extend the lead.”
Now, Pike turns its attention to Park Tudor, who will be looking to win the program’s first Marion County Tournament.
It’s just the next step for the Red Devils, who will be motivated for multiple reasons.
“We talk about the tradition and they want to be (on the trophy) for ages,” Zych said. “We also have a goal to win every game this year.”