In the 100 seasons of Beech Grove High School Boys Basketball, there have been 13 times that the Hornets have played in the sectional championship game. Saturday night, the 13th appearance was a lucky one for the Beech Grove Hornets as they came from behind to defeat the Manual Redskins 48-45 in the Class 3A Sectional 28 championship game at Danville Community High School.
Getting off to a decent start, the Hornets led 13-12 at the end of the first quarter. However, they would score only four points in the second period, going scoreless in the final five-and-a-half plus minutes of that quarter to trail 22-17 against their southside rivals at halftime.
Things didn’t look too promising for the locals in the third quarter as they fell further behind and trailed by as many as eight, 29-21. Maintaining their resolve, the Hornets bounced back to pull to within one point at 31-30 before Manual ended the period with five unanswered points.
However, the Orange and Black came alive in the fourth quarter as they scored the first five markers of that stanza on buckets by seniors John Parker and Gavin Hess (a three-pointer) to draw to within 36-35. After Braxton Houston’s three-pointer extended the Redskins’ lead to 39-35, Beech Grove went on an 8-0 run, one that would prove fatal for Coach Don Bowling’s Manual squad. Parker sank both ends of a one-and-one and made another basket to tie the game at 39-39. Hess knocked down two more free throws on another one-and-one and scored on a layup off a feed from Parker to put the Hornets ahead to stay at 43-39. A bucket from senior Jordan Brickley padded the Beech Grove lead to six at 45-39.
Manual was not done quite yet. Caleb Redman was fouled by Brickley on a three-point shot attempt, sending Brickley to the bench with five fouls. Redman calmly sank three free throws to trim the deficit to 45-42. Beech Grove sophomore Jadyn Curry made two foul shots on yet another one-and-one, extending the Hornet advantage to 47-42.
Junior Jajuan Allison made one of two free throws to up the margin to 48-42. Then Redman sank a three-pointer in the waning seconds, but it was too little, too late as Coach Mike Renfro’s ball club hung on to obtain the school’s fourth sectional boys basketball title (1966, 1992 and 2008 were the other years in which Beech Grove won the title).
Brickley led Beech Grove (17-7), who won its eighth consecutive game, with 13 points, including 6-for-6 from the foul line. Parker scored 10, Hess nine and Curry eight as the Hornets won the title that had eluded them for the past two years. The team dedicated its emotional win to the Hornets’ late head coach Matt English, who passed away December 10 following a seven-year battle against brain cancer.
Redman led the Redskins (16-9) with 12 points while 6’7″ center Jalen Johnson scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Hornets will now take on the Greencastle Tiger Cubs, winners of 21 of 25 contests this season, in the opening game of the regional this Saturday at 10 a.m. at Greencastle High School’s McAnally Center, which seats approximately 4,900 fans. Four-time state champion Crispus Attucks (18-8) will face Owen Valley (14-12) in the second game at 12 noon. The winners will meet in the championship game at 8 p.m. Saturday night.
Regional pre-sale tickets, priced at $10.00, will go on sale at the Beech Grove High School bookstore beginning Tuesday and will be sold during regular school hours this week. Those tickets are good for both the semifinal and championship sessions. Single-session tickets, which are $7.00, will not be available until the day of the event.