Despite not having their coach, Larry Williams, who had a previously scheduled family engagement, the Beech Grove junior varsity Hornets did not miss a beat as they delivered the knockout punch early to subdue the host Western Panthers 62-44 Saturday afternoon in Russiaville, IN.
Fueled by eight points each by sophomores Jaleel Edwards and Skyler Thacker in the first seven minutes, the Hornets bolted out to a stunning 29-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Although Western outscored Beech Grove 44-33 in the final three quarters, the damage had already been inflicted to the hosts as the Hornets won their 16th game of the season against two defeats. Edwards finished his afternoon with a game-high 17 points while Thacker wound up with 10. Assistant coach John Hart was serving as acting head coach for Beech Grove, with freshman coach Chuck Gilbert providing assistance.
Junior Troy Heckathorne contributed nine points, freshman Nate McKee eight and sophomore Jeremiah Tate seven.
Sophomore guard Ian Thurston led Western with 11 points. Junior Dylan Collins chipped in with nine points while freshman Amari Sutton scored eight.
The Hornets will close out the 2020-21 season as they look to make amends against the Whiteland Warriors, who have won the last two meetings against Beech Grove in junior varsity play. One of those meetings resulted in the Warriors’ snapping the Hornets’ 40-game winning streak two seasons ago. The two schools will battle it out Friday evening at 6 p.m. on the Matt English Court at “The Hive.”