Fishers, Ind. - With three ultra-quick guards who can handle the ball and shoot effectively from the outside, the Pike High School basketball team forces opposing coaches into a conundrum.
"I'm glad I don't have to try and figure it out," Pike coach Bill Zych said.
The senior guard trio accounted for 71 points as the Class 4A fifth-ranked Red Devils knocked off No. 3 Hamilton Southeastern 81-75 Tuesday night. Taishaun Johnson led the way with 27 points, Zavier Turner added 25 and Jordan Pickett scored nine of his 19 in the fourth quarter.
Turner is committed to Ball State, Pickett to Loyola (Ill.) and Johnson is uncommitted but is receiving Division I interest.
"With three guys who can score 20-plus points a game, it makes us hard to defend," Zych said. "We're playing with good chemistry right now."
Coming off a win over then-No. 1 Carmel last week, HSE (15-3) climbed back from an 11-point hole to take its first lead of the second half, 62-61 on two Zak Irvin free throws with 4:29 left in the game.
But those were the final points for the 6-8 Irvin, a Michigan recruit. He finished with 33 points, but took just two more shots the rest of the way as Zych sent the 6-1 Johnson to deny him the ball everywhere he went.
"We didn't do anything special (with Irvin)," Zych said. "We tried to take away his tendencies. We were successful at times and not very successful at times."
HSE coach Brian Satterfield was less concerned with Irvin not getting shots late than he was with the Royals inability to keep Pike off the offensive glass. Two putbacks, one by Pickett and one by Kendall Rollins, allowed Pike to push a one-point lead to 75-70 with one minute left.
"There are some things we need to get better at and the main one we keep harping on is rebounding," HSE coach Brian Satterfield said. "We missed a few free throws and we gave them too many second-chance opportunities. Bottom line, that's what it came down to."
Paul Furlin buried a 3 to draw HSE within 75-73 with 32 seconds left, but Turner hit two free throws on the following Pike possession and HSE never again had the ball with a chance to tie.
Pike (18-2) has now won five in a row since back-to-back losses to Park Tudor and Carmel and looks plenty capable of making a repeat visit to the 4A state championship game.
"We have three point guards who have seen a lot of things and have done a nice job keeping their composure," Zych said. "It's good to have that experience factor."