GRIFFITH | Coaches Gary Hayes and Drew Trost both have young, promising squads who've outgrown the milk-and-cookies stage this late in the season.
Hayes' Griffith boys basketball team features just two seniors and four freshmen while Bishop Noll's Trost has only one senior and seven players 6-foot-3 or taller.
Both squared off Tuesday in nonconference action.
As is expected with loads of youth, this one wasn't pretty but Noll still prevailed, 54-41, behind Tyreon Gates' 19 points and nine rebounds. Matthew Sandoval, the only senior, added 10 points.
"We had gotten into a stretch where we lost two of our last four and kinda lost our identity, which I feel we re-established tonight," Trost said.
"Our defense and our rebounding were outstanding -- that want and desire we need to be successful."
Noll (17-2) led by as many as 21 points in the third, 40-19, and Griffith never got closer than nine.
The Panthers (9-9) were outrebounded 31-21 and shot a miserable 6-of-15 from the line.
"I feel we were playing our normal game," Gates said. "Defense leads to offense."
Hayes' keys to victory against a Noll program that had won 62 of its last 69 games were quite simple prior to tip-off.
"As young a team as we are, I'm concerned with minimizing our mistakes with three freshmen on the floor 40 to 50 percent of the time," Hayes said.
"We need to shoot the ball well. I saw progress right after January and we're getting a little more settled. And we need to get the ball inside and keep (Tyreon) Gates and (Larry) Crisler off the boards."
The pair combined for 16 rebounds, however.
Austin Brown's 11 points and Ben Parish's eight rebounds topped the Panthers.
Griffith is finally healthy with point guard Flint Powell fully recovered from a stress fracture in one foot that cost him the first six games of the season. But early foul trouble rendered him ineffective against Noll.
An interested spectator at Tuesday's game was 6-10 Kenny Harris, who began his prep career at Noll, finished at Griffith, then signed with Valparaiso University.