Five Questions: Warren Central vs. Center Grove

High School
Indiana

Posted On: 02/2/18 1:10 PM

The season might have been wearing down on both Warren Central and Center Grove but this is where the cream rises to the top and that was what Warren Central did as they were able to win 50-42 in the final minute of the game. Led by David Bell with 15 points and Jesse Bingham with 9 points, Warren Central moves to 19-0 on the season.

Can Warren Central Stay Undefeated?
Looking ahead at their schedule, the next three games for Warren Central aren’t too difficult but then you end the season with Carmel, Pike for the third time, and Fishers. It isn’t an impossible route for Warren to take as they just got done winning close games against Zionsville and Center Grove this week. Easily could be 25-0 heading into the postseason. The other question that pops up is if they are wearing down? Do they have the energy to go the distance?

Will Center Grove Ever Figure Out Their Offense?
Having now watched Center Grove three times, I’m left asking this question. There is no doubt that I love the talent of this team. Joey Klaasen has been really good, Trayce Jackson-Davis is a stud, and they have many other guys. The problem is those other guys look so out of sorts that I don’t know where they go. Spencer Piercefield, for how good he was this summer, is just not right now. Ben Greller and Ben Nicoson have struggled as well. Nate McClain joins Joey Klaasen and Trayce as the guys who are playing better than I thought they would but this team needs more. They need the guards to hit open shots and move the ball but it isn’t happening. We are less than a month from the start of the playoffs. Time is running out and I’m not sure I think they will get it figured out in time.

Is Warren Central Wearing Down?
Last night, you saw Warren Central at their lowest point, at least in the games I have watched. They weren’t crisp and didn’t have that energy they have had in other games this year. Part of that is due to only having one off day in between really tough games. But part of that is just the winning streak and finishing off strong. I think trying to go through the season undefeated can cause problems. Not that you don’t shoot for that goal but the ultimate goal is to win State. Their schedule has been brutal. It is the #1 strength of schedule in the state according to Sagarin Ratings. While those of it’s competitors like New Albany (35), South Bend Riley (133), and Zionsville (13). Warren Central is also 12-0 against teams ranked in Sagarin’s Top 25. Only Carmel has played even 11 games against Top 25 teams and went 6-4 in those games.

Is The Backcourt Duo Of Tate And Cushingberry Enough?
One other question popped up last night in my head watching this game and it was if Warren Central’s backcourt was enough. Where Warren Central excelled last year was with their backcourt. They could really score and shoot the ball but last night, Warren only hit three triples. Now, Dean Tate basically won them this game and Antwaan Cushingberry was really good as well. However, is that enough? Guards win championships and these two are really solid but looking at the depth behind them and they only combined for 9 points and 7 of those came from Joe Rush. Not sure I can answer this question yet but as good as Warren Central is, they might need a bit more offense to get past some of the teams they will face down the road in State.

Who Has Easier Path To State Finals?
While Warren Central is the better team right now, do they actually have an easier path than Center Grove. Looking ahead, Warren Central plays in Sectional 10 and will have Cathedral, LN, LC, North Central, and Tech to deal with. Center Grove has Franklin, Greenwood, Martinsville, Whiteland, and Franklin Central. Center Grove wins that battle. Looking hypothetically at the next round, Center Grove would likely face Bloomington South and then New Albany in Regionals. Warren Central would get Connersville and then Ben Davis, which they would play for the third time this year. This would tend to favor Warren Central. Then, if both won out, they would face each other in Semistate. Taking a quick look at those games we just detailed, I’m not sure I wouldn’t want Center Grove’s path. Getting started with the easier games would be more beneficial.