Boys basketball looks for first ever win at Pike

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B. Robinson

Sophomore Marcus Ankney looks downcourt in the Trojans’ 62-73 loss to Bloomington North.

Sam Findley, Staff Writer

Center Grove’s game plan going into tonight’s matchup at 7:30 against Pike is simple yet difficult: to do what’s never been done before. Center Grove has never beat Pike when they play the team away from home. Center Grove plans to change that this year.

Sophomore Marcus Ankney is confident in his team’s ability to beat Pike. Pike is 1-1 in their last two games including a nail-biter 62-58 loss.

“We are pretty confident we can beat them, we just need to execute and be solid the whole game,” Ankney said.

Pike has depended heavily on junior Ryan Conwell. Conwell has averaged 18.0 points, 2.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds this season. The 6’1 guard will likely be the focus of Center Grove’s defensive game plan.

Head Coach Zach Hahn says the team will try to limit easy scoring opportunities for Conwell.

“We must keep him in front in transition, limit his ability to take catches and shoot 3’s and trap him off ball screens,” Hahn said.

Pike has great ball movement, averaging 18.7 assists in a game. Center Grove will also need to limit easy passing opportunities.

Junior Tayven Jackson says limiting those opportunities will come within the fast break.

“We just have to stop their fast break system and slow the pace down,” Jackson said. “We have to force them middle and to not let them run down the sideline.”

Hahn and junior Jordan Vaughns agreed that a win will only come from limiting turnovers.

“We have to limit turnovers to under eight,” Vaughns said.

Center Grove has depended on a wide range of scorers, having four players averaging points in the double digits. The lead of these scorers is Landin Hacker who will most likely be the offensive focal point against Pike.

“I’m going to let the game come to me and not force anything. I’m going to trust the coach’s offense and principles and execute them to the best of my ability,” Hacker said.

Once Hacker steps off the court they will look to Ankney for the offensive punch. The 6’3 point guard has averaged the third most points per game. Ankney will look to contribute heavily once Hacker takes to the bench.

“I am going to look to drive and still run the offense,” Ankney said.

A win at Pike would be the first in the school’s history and would give this young team a massive confidence boost. Pike is also in the MIC, and one of Center Grove’s main goals is to do well in the MIC. Last year, they finished last place in the MIC with a 0-9 record.

“​It would be the first win at Pike in school history. Quite an accomplishment and would help continue the momentum this team is building,” Hahn said.