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TROJANS END HUSKIES SEASON 69-44 IN REGIONAL
Despite a furious opening salvo from the Huskies that saw them run to a 9-4 early lead, Center Grove proved too much for North to handle in a 69-44 Regional loss. Seniors Nate Toone and Cameron Seaton got the green & white off to a great start with steals and baskets sandwiched around a drive to the basket by sophomore Kolten Sanford. When junior DJ Redding hit a free throw following getting fouled, the Huskies looked determined to prove to the world that they were up to the task of chopping down a redwood tree.
Aggressively stepping into passing lanes and rebounding on the defensive end, North held a lead at 15-13 early in the second quarter. From there, however, Center Grove's All-State center asserted himself and changed the game around.
With North double teaming the big man in front and back, they ultimately paid a hefty price with personal fouls and several starters had to head to the bench early. The Trojans took advantage of their opportunity and moved out to a 30-21 halftime lead. When Center Grove took off on a 14-4 run to start the second half, a North comeback became problematic.
To their credit, the Huskies did not stop battling. After falling behind by 24 at the end of the third quarter, Seaton and Sanford sandwiched a pair of threes around multiple baskets by senior Ryan Huebner to cut the Trojan lead to just 13 with six minutes to play. North's guns fell silent down the stretch and Center Grove advanced to the final.
Seaton and Sanford tied for team high score with 12 points and Huebner added 11 in the game.
HUSKIES CAPTURE CHAMPIONSHIP WITH 74-68 HUMBLING OF KNIGHTS
Riding the strength of senior Ryan Huebner's best game of his career, the Mighty North Huskies won the Evansville 4A Sectional Championship with a 74-68 over time victory over Castle. Huebner's extraordinary performance included 23 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocked shots, a steal, an assist, and a deflection not to mention holding his man on defense well under his season scoring average.
The Knights had won seven straight against the Huskies dating back to 2014 and when they leapt to a 39-25 lead early in the third period of play, it appeared that streak would extend. The game hinged on the next four minutes of play--not because North came back and took the lead, but because the Huskies went on a 15-5 run to make it a game again.
Displaying the teamwork that would ultimately result in North's first Sectional Title since 1998, the assists and steals and rebounds that took place in that run were typical of the remainder of the game. First, senior Cameron Seaton worked his way inside for two points. After a Seth Seniour rebound, sophomore Kolten Sanford took a pass from Seaton and made a long-distance three. Senior Nate Toone came up with a steal, drove for a lay up, made the basket, got fouled, and hit the free throw. Following a Reitz bucket, junior D.J. Redding jetted his way around three defenders and layed the ball up high on the glass and spun around to watch it bounce into the basket.
When Seniour swiped another miss off Reitz' backboard, North's motion and rotation on offense had a new spring in its step as the crowd came to its feet. Huebner found himself open with the ball outside the three point arc, he let fly with a shot that found nothing but net. Toone nailed another jump shot on North's next possession and Reitz' coach called timeout as the Husky faithful roared at the 44-40 scoreboard. It was 'game-on' from there.
Reitz pushed the lead back out to nine points, but neither Huebner nor Sanford were done with their theatrics. Huebner spun past his man for a bucket to make the score 52-45. Sanford sank his third three of the second half to cut it to 52-48. Redding fed Huebner the ball and the big center went to the hole, made the basket, drew a foul that put his defender out of the game, and then sank the free throw to cut the deficit to one point.
The two clubs exchanged leads as the clock wound down with Redding hitting four free throws for the Huskies while Huebner sank two along with another field goal. North had the ball with the score tied and fifteen seconds left on the clock. Sanford's two point shot from 14 feet rimmed out as the buzzer went off to force overtime.
Huebner set the tone for the overtime when he converted a running three point from the top of the key and gave the Huskies a 66-63 lead. Seniour pulled down four rebounds in the overtime period and dominated the boards on the Castle end. When Huebner fouled out with two minutes remaining, Redding worked his way to a pair of lay ups on passes from Sanford sandwiched around a single score by the Knights. With a 7 point lead, Seaton and Seniour closed out the victory from the free throw line following Castle fouls as they tried in vain to get the ball back. Seniour's final rebound allowed North to dribble out the clock for the final 37 seconds and the crowd poured onto the court at the buzzer.
EVANSVILLE NORTH HIGH SCHOOL HUSKIES VARSITY FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL RECORD BOOK -- EVANSVILLE, INDIANA
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