Boys basketball team looks to extend win streak against Roncalli tonight


Sam Findley

During the county championship game against Franklin, junior Jalen Bundy pulls up for a jump shot.

Ethan McComb, Staff Writer

Coming off a county championship, the 14-1 Trojans had a full week to prepare for tonight’s game against Roncalli (5-7). Center Grove has been ranked No. 5 in the state for the second week in a row but still has a chip on their shoulder.

The Trojans want to play with a sense of urgency and facilitate a high possession game. Playing this brand of basketball starts with the assertiveness of junior point guard Jalen Bundy.

“Coach Hahn trusts me to use my speed and athleticism to attack teams that like to slow it down,” Bundy said. “Creating tempo in a game like this works to our advantage a lot.”

Adding to the offensive game plan, CG has been preparing this week to get numerous 3-point opportunities. The Royals have shown several different zone defenses this season including a 2-3 zone, 3-2 zone, and even a 1-3-1 zone. Playing against a zone defense feeds into what the Trojans are best at: shooting three pointers. Center Grove is shooting an unprecedented 45 percent from long range, which is the best team percentage in school history. Senior shooting guard Owen Baker is eager to get his chance to give the Trojans an edge from deep.

“Whenever a team plays zone, guards have to be ready to shoot early and often,” Baker said. “Outside shooting will have a big impact in this game, so we should be in good shape.”

On the other end of the court, Center Grove will have their hands full. Roncalli has a tendency to run set plays every possession on offense, which can be mentally draining to defend. 

“We have to guard their actions and take away what they want to do,” senior guard Marcus Ankney said. “The defensive side of the ball is all about communication and effort, and that needs to be at an all-time high Saturday night.”

Roncalli is a physically imposing team that features two 6’6” 300-pound centers, including senior Trevor Lauck. Lauck is a highly touted offensive lineman on the gridiron that will be heading to Iowa next year to play football. He is averaging 6.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game this season. Junior Will Spellman is ready for another battle in the post and is relying on his teammates to have his back on defense.

“Your game plan definitely has to change when you’ve got a force like that down low,” Spellman said. “The plan is to front the post and have tremendous helpside defense on the opposite side of the floor.”

Injuries have forced the Trojans to rely on a short rotation of players in recent games. However, getting senior forward Garrett Messer back to full strength with no minute restriction is positive news for Center Grove.

“I’ll play my role, which is coming off the bench to give us solid minutes at the center position,” Messer said. “I’ll provide solid interior defense and screen to get guys shots or drives to the rim on offense.”