Caden Hayward embraces Zeadric Daniels (2) after the final buzzer sounded on Indy's 50-49 win over Field Kindley Tuesday night.
Caden Hayward embraces Zeadric Daniels (2) after the final buzzer sounded on Indy's 50-49 win over Field Kindley Tuesday night.

When Zeadric Daniels took the court last season he was just the second freshman to play for the Independence Bulldogs under head coach Marcus Lanning.

It was pretty obvious watching him play at the junior varsity level that he was going to be up with the varsity pretty quickly and he hasn't played away from that level much since getting moved up.

He was just the second freshman at the time to play at the varsity level only to Tate Turner who started for four years for Lanning and is now a starting guard and the second leading scorer for the Pirates on the season.

And while Turner wasn't on the court for the Bulldogs Tuesday night, there was just a moment where it would have been easy to flash back to a moment of the Bulldog legend's career.

That moment came with 1.8 seconds left on the clock with Indy down 49-48 to the Field Kindley Golden Tornado.

With one chance at getting one last shot up for a chance at a win for Indy, Daniels gave a head fake, took a quick step into the paint and took a quick pull-up jumper with hopes of giving Indy the lead.

The lead that Field Kindley had just taken away from them on a Trey Myrie runner just the possession before was short lived.

Daniels' jumper found nothing but the bottom of the net and led the Bulldogs to their second win over the 'Nado this season.

And that move in the paint while it was a game-winner was also one of nostalgia for the sophomore Daniels.

"I just try to look up to Tate Turner," he said. "That's what he does a lot, he gets in the paint and scores, he shoots outside sometimes, but that's what he does, and that's who I try to look up to really."

It's hard to deny the similarities between the two guards' games. Turner is a good shooter, but he really is at his most dangerous a step inside the three-point line.

Daniels has really started to add that little shot at the top of the key to his game and it has really worked out as of late.

He has scored 34 points in his last two games and 46 over his last three. He has done that all the while taking just five threes in the process. Of his 14 field goals made over his last three games 11 of those are inside the arc. Seven of those have been right around the free throw line and under the top of the key.

He's made a living off of that shot of late and has shot better than 50 percent from the field in the process.

That one little shot has made Daniels' success over the last few games and has shown just how far he has come even during the season.

"Tate was really good about doing that," head coach Marcus Lanning said. "Because a lot of times early in his career Tate would get charges, well Z has too, but he's learning how to pull up and shoot and that's what he does, and he's confident and we have confidence in him as well taking that shot."

Daniels has some work to do to catch up with Turner as the now Pirate sophomore won 72 games in his four years with the Bulldogs, but a game-winning shot versus Field Kindley is a surefire way to match a little bit of the Turner magic. 

Just ask the 2013-14 Field Kindley Golden Tornado.

And while Daniels and Lanning were thrilled to get the win Tuesday night, they know that if they run into Field Kindley again it's going to be another dogfight on their hands.

Turner went 7-4 versus Field Kindley in his four years with the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs with Daniels are now 3-3 over the last two years versus the 'Nado. The rubber match could go down at the substate tournament in Indy March 2-4.

Daniels is more than looking forward to the possibility of the rematch and wants the challenge again of facing off with their rival and the chance to see another great game as they already have three times this season.

"I like games like this," the sophomore said after Indy's win Tuesday night. "Close games, those are my favorite games, I don't like blowouts, they're boring, and I'm ready for them at substate, I'm ready for everyone at substate really."