Photo Cred: Instagram: @b_eckstein
Final Score - Hamilton Southeastern Royals 65 - 62 North Central Panthers
This week in 3 Point Vision's Indiana High School Basketball Focal Point Vision game we visited the North Central Panthers facing a visiting Hamilton Southeastern Royals. As a guest sitting in the stands first thing you notice at the start of the game is the vicious NC student section with their epic crown antics. As HSE starting 5 was being announce the student section would turn their backs and yell "YOU SUCK" at each individual being announced but as the final score would show, a different statement would be made.
North Central would get in early foul trouble in the first quarter trying to show dominance over the Royals big man one by the name of Mabor Majak (7 pts) standing as tall as 7'1. The Royals would take a early lead in the game but the panthers would collectively come together in the form of a full court pressed that cause 2 back to back turnovers finishing the 1st quarter down 5 to the Royals 13 - 8.
The panthers would continue their defensive mindset in the 2nd quarter by forcing 2 turnovers with a huge charge taken by the energy guy Will Loggan. Panther's Donald Lee would spark a single man 8 - 0 run with back to back 3's and a monstrous dunk that brought the crowd to their feet taking a 18 - 17 lead.
In the 3rd the Royals would become more aggressive by either finishing at the basket or drawing the foul. The panther would answer the Royals aggressiveness with a full court trap press forcing multiple turnovers and 2 big blocks from Donald Lee, one leading to teammate Michael Rogers getting a put back lay up on a fast break which brought the Panthers withing one point 44-43. The Panthers would get the ball back in the final seconds of the quarter and drain a big 3 by Caleb Pack to take the lead 46-44.
The Panthers would carry the momentum into the 4th quarter going on a 11 - 4 run but the Royal then entered a full court press of their own that caught the Panthers off guard bringing the Royals within 5 points 58 - 53. Key free throw would hurt both teams late, Royal's Chris Grubbs would go 1 for 2 missing a game tying free throw (61 - 60) but Panther's Davon Bradley would also go 1 for 2 (62 - 60) which gave room for the Panthers downfall. With 20 seconds left in the 4th quarter Royal's Nick Bowman would come up to the top of the key and Nail a dagger 3 to put the Royals up 63 - 62. A frantic turnover from the panthers resulted in 2 free throws for the Royals making the score 65 - 62.
The panthers would get a chance to tie the game up but 3 time outs and a desperate 3 point shot from the right corner later would not change the results. Royal's Chaz Birchfield finished with 16 pts, Nick Bowman 14 pts, and Noah Smith with 13 pts. Panther's Donald Lee held game high with 20 pts, Ty'Riek Johnson had 13 pts, and Michael Rogers added 11 pts.