Hamilton Southeastern and North Central entered the game undefeated. It is always fun to see good, talented teams compete. There was a good crowd on hand plus a lot of college coaches.
Gary Harris played well early for HSE but he did pick up two fouls in the first quarter. He sat a little bit but he didn't sit for long. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera wasn't very aggressive early on. He missed a couple of outside shots and was pretty content on just passing the ball. The game was tied at 15 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was all Ronnie Johnson for North Central. He hit a couple of 3's and he got to the rim a few times in a row. Johnson had 15 first half points. Darius Latham was also very effective for North Central. Latham isn't a great athlete but he uses his big body well and is a good mid-range shooter. He doesn't do anything that hurts his team. North Central pulled ahead for a 38-26 half time lead.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Gary Harris both stepped up for their teams in the third quarter. DSR had 10 points in the quarter while Harris had 7. Zak Irvin really struggled shooting the ball. Irvin also didn't do much off of the dribble. He wasn't a factor in the game until late in the fourth quarter when he hit a couple of shots. North Central took a 55-48 lead to the final quarter.
Hamilton Southeastern had their chances in the fourth quarter but could never quite get over the hump. It didn't help HSE's cause when Gary Harris fouled out with under a minute to play. Darius Latham missed two free-throws with 7 seconds left to give Hamilton Southeastern a chance. Jacobby Bledsoe's half court shot was off and North Central escaped with a 69-67 victory.
Gary Harris led all scorers with 23 points. Zak Irvin added 10 points while Randy Gregory had 10 points and 11 rebounds for HSE. North Central was led by D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's 21 points but Ronnie Johnson and Darius Latham each had 17 points as well.
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