Respect is earned, not given.
Even though the boys basketball team has earned respect, with their record being 20-2, it still seems that they are not getting what they deserve.
They have demolished all competitors that have crossed their path. They have consistently played well enough to claim the No. 1 spot in State, and they have proven to be the top competitor in their conference with winning the MIC title. Yet people still seem to doubt them, using the phrase ‘they’re just getting lucky.’
Despite the doubt and the critics, the Warriors are focused on themselves and their goals.
“We don’t listen to the outside crowd, we just stay focused and come to practice everyday ready to play,” senior Mack Smith said. “At the end of March, I bet our doubters will be silenced.”
He could not have said it any better.
Smith leads the team in scoring, averaging 20.2 points. Having the support of his team right alongside of him makes it a lot easier. Junior guard Dean Tate is averaging 9.4 points per game, senior Trequan Spivey is recording 9.3, senior Paul Minor totaling 6.8 and fellow seniors Allante Harper and Ki-ng Tyler tallying 5.5 and 4.8 respectively.
And not to forget stat sheet stuffer David Bell, who averages 5.9 points per game and has totaled a team-high 55 assists and a team second-best 109 rebounds.
The Warriors’ success is a total team effort and that is what the Black and Gold will rely on heading into tournament action.
“We are focused on one game at a time and getting a little bit better every time we step on the court,” Smith said. “We will continue to share the ball and work together as a team to be successful.”
The unselfishness among the team is remarkable with everyone contributing and in every game someone else steps up, whether it’s starters such as Trequan Spivey or Dean Tate along with support from seniors Allante Harper and Ki-ng Tyler.
“I feel confident in the group of guys I have around me this year but best believe I’ll be there when they need me,” Spivey said.
The Warriors were consistently tested throughout their tough schedule and MIC play, as was the case when they took on rival the Carmel Greyhounds.
Entering a hostile environment, the Warriors were plagued by poor shooting, questionable officiating and foul trouble as senior Mack Smith fouled out early in the fourth quarter.
Although WC was down by 17 points at the seven minute mark of the third quarter, that did not phase the resilient Warrior squad as they posted a 26-10 run to cut Carmel’s advantage to just one point with five minutes remaining.
Led by junior guard Dean Tate, who poured in a game-high 20 points, the Warriors were able to push the game into overtime after a last-second shot by Spivey which was waived off.
“I knew our leading scorer was out and as the point guard of the team it was on me to step up and make plays to keep us in the game, so I turned my savage up,” Tate said.
The odds they had against them came out stronger than they could bear, and they took a tough loss in overtime 70-68.
But that did not rattle their confidence.
The Warriors bounced back with a tremendous win the following night against Muncie Central, the score ending 70-50 and they did not hesitate to keep the ball going.
Only one more game.
One more game they had to win to make history. Just one more game to do what they do best: play basketball.
They started off on the right foot raining in shots, but Pike did not back down. Going into the second half up, with the score being 18-20.
But something soon sparked in the Warriors which caused then to pull away late in the fourth quarter to snag the win and the MIC title.
“We feel honored and blessed just to be a part of history,” Harper said.
“Also being able to prove our doubters wrong, when they didn’t even predict us to be in the top 10.”
Since that is checked off of the bucket list, there is one more to go.
And that is winning State.
Sectionals are just right round the corner and they are prepared for what any competitor has coming there way.
This is an unstoppable team that has the determination, skill, passion and brotherly hood that other teams wish they had and what our team cherish.
“I want them to continue to play with our strengths and to stay away from our weakness,” head coach Criss Beyers said.
Catch our Warriors in action on Feb 28 for the first round of Sectionals against the Lawrence North Wildcats at 6 p.m.
"I think it's time for them to put some respect on our name because WC is back and ready to make this tourney run." -Senior Mack Smith
WARREN CENTRAL MAKES history by winning the MIC title outright. The Warriors has always tied the MIC. Photo by Taylor Baker.
SENIOR MACK SMITH heavily defended while taking the ball the other way. The Warriors beat the Bears in County 67-58. Photo by Kobie Summers