Trayce Jackson-Davis has been battling a case of mononucleosis, but he didn’t let that slow him down Thursday night.
Jackson-Davis, widely regarded as one of the state’s top juniors, scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds to celebrate his 18th birthday and lead Center Grove to a 58-41 win at Columbus North in the regular-season finale for both teams.
“I was patient tonight,” Jackson-Davis said. “Our guards were getting shots, and we played pretty good defense. … Whenever they’re hitting shots, it opens it up for me because they can’t double every single time.”
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Jackson-Davis confirmed that he has had mono for about three weeks. He was feeling really sluggish the week of a Jan. 19 loss to Ben Davis but didn’t go to the doctor. A week later, his throat started to hurt, and doctors told him it was probably the common flu.
When Jackson-Davis went back to the doctor last week, he was told he had mono.
“The doctor said, ‘As long as you’re careful,’ I’m allowed to play,” Jackson-Davis said. “So I’m just trying to be aware of that, but still be able to help my team win.”
Jackson-Davis scored 11 points in the first quarter to help the Trojans (16-6) build a 20-15 lead. Center Grove hit seven of its first eight shots from the field, including all three of its 3-pointers.
The Trojans scored the first eight points of the second quarter and held the Bull Dogs (13-10) to three points in the period to build a 33-18 halftime lead.
“Most teams, you would assume, are going to try and stop Trayce down low, and he does a nice job of finding guys,” Center Grove coach Zach Hahn said. “Tonight, we made shots early, and that really opened things up inside then as well. When we struggle to shoot the ball, it puts a damper on what we like to do. But tonight, our guards stepped in and made the big shots and gave us some cushion.”
North got back to within 39-29 in the closing seconds of the third quarter. But the Trojans’ Lucas Doyle scored on a putback at the buzzer, and Jackson-Davis scored on another putback eight seconds into the fourth quarter to push the lead back to 14.
Center Grove grabbed 11 offensive rebounds in its 29-20 advantage on the boards. The Trojans also limited the Bull Dogs to 1-of-9 shooting from 3-point range and 16-of-42 overall shooting from the field.
“Compared to the last two games, I was very happy,” Hahn said. “We locked in. I think we took away a lot of what Columbus North likes to run.”
Nate McLain and Spencer Piercefield each scored eight points.
Center Grove has won four of five heading into Tuesday’s Greenwood Sectional game against Martinsville.
“It’s not about being hot at the right time in the sectional, it’s about who comes ready to play Tuesday night,” Hahn said. “Anybody can knock off anybody. That’s what makes Indiana high school basketball so fun.”