Hounds Stifled by Wildcats 39-37

Ashwin Prasad

In a raucous, intense Varsity Gym, the Lawrence North Wildcats (17-1) outlasted CHS (11-5) 39-37 in a defensive slugfest. Senior Tony Perkins and junior DJ Hughes scored 14 and 11 points for the number one team in the state, with Perkins’ go-ahead basket with 2:01 to go proving to be decisive. Sophomore guard Pete Suder had an open floater for the win with three seconds to go, but came up short.

Immediately after the opening tip, Perkins asserted himself by gliding to the rim for a layup. The Wildcats nosed ahead 8-2 before some shots started falling for the Hounds. Junior guard Brian Waddell gave the Hounds their first lead, 13-12, with a short jumper at the end of the first quarter.

Lawrence North settled into a zone defense, which the Hounds struggled at times to penetrate. By halftime, they had only attempted 14 shots (hitting seven), and failed to get to the free throw line. However, their own efforts on the defensive side were equally stout, with their positioning and anticipation countering LN’s length and athleticism. The Wildcats drew six fouls in the quarter for some much-needed cheap points, allowing them to hold a narrow 21-19 edge at the end of the first half. Fittingly, they stymied a minute-long possession to preserve the slim lead.

The third and quarter was a back-and-forth affair. The Hounds quickly seized the lead when Waddell pivoted his way to a layup and Jannsen splashed a corner three. Then Perkins drained a three of his own and Hughes chipped in a free throw. Perkins continued his onslaught with a fierce dunk off a Suder turnover. On the last play, with the Wildcats up five, Gioia fought through a double-team and flipped the ball to junior guard Leary, who swished a contested three at the buzzer to narrow the score to 32-30.

Sophomore center Charlie Williams scored two baskets to start the fourth quarter, but picked up his fourth foul. Leary continued his hot streak, draining a three pointer to retake a 37-36 lead with under five minutes to play. The clock dwindled down into crunch time when Perkins scored with two minutes to go. On the next possession, junior point guard Connor Gioia’s inbound pass to Williams was broken up, allowing the Wildcats to play keep-away. As the Hounds tried to press for a turnover, the Wildcats burned through three timeouts, taking the third with 47.7 seconds on the clock. Finally, with 36.8 seconds to go, Cooper sailed a pass pass out of bounds. The Hounds had the ball.

Gioia, Suder, and Waddell tossed the ball around on the perimeter before a Hounds timeout with 18.9 seconds to go. Suder drew a foul with 10.6 seconds to go, and the Hounds again called timeout, tension. Cooper tipped a Gioia pass out of play. Another timeout with 5.9 seconds to go. Suddenly Suder broke free in the paint and fired up a floater, but hit the front of the rim. Shamar Avance, Lawrence North guard and junior, added a free throw with 0.5 seconds left, intentionally missing the second to end the game.

TIP-INS

On Suder’s floater, the game clock bizarrely failed to run, momentarily confusing the crowd. Eventually, the scorers’ back-up clock had 1.9 seconds, and the Hounds could not replay the possession. Leary hit three three-pointers and scored 11 points, and Gioia had five assists. The Hounds go on the road to Fort Wayne to play Bishop Dwenger Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

 

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