GARY | It’s no secret that Times No. 1 and Class 3A No. 2 Bowman Academy is bursting at the seams with playmakers who can have a huge impact on both sides of the ball.
However, even the best teams can have a sluggish first half, and the Eagles had to claw back from a six-point halftime deficit for a huge 58-51 win over Class 4A No. 4-ranked Indianapolis Cathedral.
“We’ve been off for about two weeks now, and we just had a sluggish first half getting out-hustled to the ball,” Eagles coach Marvin Rea said. “At halftime, we talked about just turning it up. We can’t make excuses.”
It took just 96 seconds for everyone to see how different the Eagles (13-3) are with Justin King on the bench. King, who finished with 14 points, committed his second foul with 6:24 left in the first quarter, forcing him to the bench for the rest of the first half.
With King on the bench, Cathedral (11-5) took a 7-1 deficit and fired back to go up 30-24 at halftime — going 7-for-9 from the free throw line in the process.
“It’s always tough watching my team from the bench,” said King, who also sat with foul trouble in a 74-52 loss to Carmel on Jan. 25. “I like to be out there with my team. I want to be on the court.”
The difference-making abilities King can bring to a game was never more evident than in the third quarter. A rejuvenated Eagles squad with King on the court held Cathedral to just five second-half points and went up 39-35 going into the fourth quarter.
“Justin is our motor,” Rea said. “He’s been playing well for us this year. When Justin is on the floor, we have everything under control. If you look at the games we lost, Justin was on the bench next to me. He’s our leader.”
Another huge key in the second half was Arthur Haggard, who, along with Davon Dillard, led the Eagles with 17 points. Haggard also nailed three of Bowman’s six 3-pointers. Eleven of Haggard's points came in the second half.
“When Haggard is on, he’s on,” Rea said. “His shots were falling, he was relaxed and he was catching the ball in rhythm. When he can catch it in rhythm, he can knock it down. He’s a dead-eye shooter.”