Devin Davis received a bit of advice recently from a friend that he took to heart.
"Play until you hurt," said Davis, Warren Central's 6-6 senior standout. "Right now, I hurt."
The pain was dulled after Davis delivered a marvelous 30-point, 15-rebound performance in Warren Central's 61-60 win over visiting Class 4A top-ranked Cathedral on Friday night in front of an estimated crowd of 2,500.
"Games like this, we can't afford to take him out," Warren Central coach Greg Graham said of the Indiana recruit. "It was great leadership on his part. It's a credit to him that he was able to stay in the game without getting in foul trouble. That showed maturity."
The eighth-ranked Warriors were nearly done in by missed free throws and turnovers, two bugaboos that have plagued them in recent years. Cathedral, playing without senior leader Collin Hartman, who suffered a concussion in practice Wednesday, trailed 61-52 with 1:54 left.
Aided by two Warren Central turnovers and two missed free throws, Cathedral cut it to 61-60 on back-to-back 3-pointers by seniors Garrett Hall and Mo Evans. The Warriors committed yet another turnover with 30 seconds left to give Cathedral a chance to pull out a miracle win.
Sam Thompson partially deflected Evans' shot from the corner in the final seconds. Cathedral had one more chance on an inbounds pass with 0.3 seconds left, but Hall's shot was short and came after the buzzer.
"We have to take care of the basketball and make free throws," Graham said. "I'm giving everybody the scouting report. If we take care of the basketball and make free throws, I don't think there's a team that can beat us."
Jordan Garnett pitched with 19 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. He turned in back-to-back old-fashioned three-point plays to push Warren Central's lead to 55-48 with 3:17 left.
"When he's active, Jordan Garnett is our X-factor," Graham said. "Nobody really knows about him, (but) he made some big plays."
Evans led Cathedral with 18 points and Hall added 17. Cathedral coach Andy Fagan downplayed the absence of Hartman, saying his veteran team should have performed better even without the Indiana recruit.
"Collin is a tremendous player and, of course, would have had a very positive impact," Fagan said. "But we're a program that has multiple guys who can do multiple things. We'd have loved to have had him, but you still have to find ways to make plays. We didn't."
Davis called Friday "a positive step" if not a statement win.
"We're not there yet, but we're going to be special," Davis said.