If Darnell Hoskins Jr. hadn’t come of age yet for Thurgood Marshall, he did Tuesday night.
DJ, the son of head coach Darnell Hoskins, raced the length of the court following a steal and hit a game-winning layup as time expired for a 49-47 victory over Centerville.
“It was really weird,” DJ Hoskins, a sophomore guard, said. “(Joey Weingartner) just jumped up in the air and passed it. I just shot the gap, saw the ball, got it, looked up at the clock and took it all the way. It was great. It was awesome.”
It also was an intriguing non-league matchup between two of the area’s best teams, neither of which will meet again because Centerville remains in Division I and Thurgood in D-II. It’s the first loss for Centerville (6-1).
Thurgood (4-1) hasn’t lost since a season-opening setback at Richmond (Ind.). That includes a 67-55 defeat of Columbus Northland in its second game. Northland was 28-1 last season, a state semifinalist and the Associated Press Division I poll champ.
“It’s a great game for us,” Centerville coach Brook Cupps said. “I think that they get something out of it and I know that we do. From that perspective, I’m glad we played them and they’re willing to play us.”
Centerville whittled down most of the last minute. Weingartner, the Elks’ leading scorer, appeared ready to take the last shot and maneuvered toward the lane. Thurgood’s Davion Ashe, the Cougars’ best defender, had other ideas.
Smothered defensively by Ashe, Weingartner was caught in mid-air and launched a pass instead of a shot. Hoskins intercepted and his race for the game-winning bucket was on.
“There’s no better way for our kids to learn under fire,” coach Hoskins said. “We’ve got a pretty decent mix of veteran and young guys. I thought that the experience of scheduling this game would prove its worth with a game like we got. This is exactly what I expected.”
Derrick Daniels led Thurgood with 10 points and Hoskins and Rachaun Martin each added eight. Eric Meininger led Centerville with a season-high 15 points.
Thurgood’s game at Bellefontaine on Monday was postponed to Jan. 11 at Bellefontaine. The Cougars will play Henderson, Ky., at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in one of several games at Evansville (Ind.) Bosse. Wayne will host Centerville on Friday and play Evansville Mater Dei at Bosse on Saturday following Thurgood’s game.
Cupps was philosophical about the loss to Thurgood. “Being undefeated is overrated,” he said, smiling.