After Muncie Burris (7-12, 1-3 Pioneer) junior forward Connor McKibben nailed the first 3-pointer of the game, the Owls never relinquished their lead in their 60-54 win against South Adams (4-15, 1-5 Allen County) Feb. 18.
Muncie Burris head coach John Donahue said the Owls executed in protecting the ball and emphasizing defensive effort.
“The thing we preach, game in and game out is that we want to be tough defensively,” Donahue said. “We got to take care of the ball and we got to box out. If we can do those three things, we’ll find ourselves in most games.”
The Owls were paced by junior forward Carter Fisher, who scored a team-high 17 points and gathered five rebounds. McKibben and junior guard Colin McBride each scored 10 points. McBride also contributed seven rebounds and five assists. Sophomore center Asher Donahue tallied 11 points and nine rebounds. Fisher said ball movement resulted in his offensive success.
“My teammates moved the ball really well, and they got me those open looks,” Fisher said. “They just found the good matchups for me and got me in places to score.”
The Owls have won three consecutive games after defeating Hagerstown 68-48 Feb. 15 and Wes-Del 66-58 Feb. 17.
“It’s a lot on young legs,” Donahue said. “We’re not an overly deep team, so we’re still trying to get some of those guys caught up to speed. But, things are going the right way.”
After taking over the program as head coach Feb. 2, Donahue has led the Owls to a 5-2 record and placed defense at the forefront.
“They guys are learning some new terminology from us,” Donahue said. “We’re putting a fully different emphasis on defense. We’re trying to get things corrected, and we’re heading in the right direction.”
Fisher said Donahue has helped the Owls tremendously since he took over, and believes his confidence has sparked Muncie Burris.
“It’s not so much us rallying around him as it is him bringing us up and believing in us,” Fisher said. “That really helps. He really wants us to win and wants us to be the greatest team we possibly can.”
South Adams played from behind the entire game, something head coach Garrett Krieg said the Firestars are not accustomed to.
“We weren’t ready to go to start the game,” Krieg said. “Our kids really battled back, it was a hard-fought game. Unfortunately, when we get down, we’ve got to do some things we aren’t accustomed to doing. We’ve got to try and scramble.”
South Adams senior guard Trey Schoch led all scorers with 22 points to go along with four rebounds. Senior guard Jordan Hinshaw totaled 14 points, including a three-point play to cut the Owls lead to four with under three and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter. Senior guard Jacob Kakone added 11 points.
“Trey [Schoch] is a good basketball player, he’s really good inside, got some good shots for us,” Krieg said. “He did miss some open shots and that kind of frustrated him today. I thought Jordan [Hinshaw] played extremely well for us today. He hasn’t seen the ball go in the basket in that many games, so hopefully, that can get him some momentum. And Jacob [Kakone] also ran the point for us really well, hit some crucial threes, played really good defense. It all just wasn’t enough.”
Muncie Burris returns to action against Blue River Valley (11-9, 2-7 Mid Eastern) Feb. 22. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. South Adams hosts Smith Academy (5-14) Feb. 19. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.