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Free throws doom Thunderbirds at Riverton Parke

Photo by B.J. HARGIS: North Central's Wyatt Ison (22) closes out on Riverton Parke forward Hayden Gilstrap.

MECCA — North Central was outscored by 14 points at the foul line as the Thunderbirds fell at Riverton Parke 62-59 in a high school boys basketball game on Friday night.

The host Panthers made 20 of 29 free throws compared to 6 of 6 by North Central, who dropped to 7-7.

“We are a pretty good basketball team,” said North Central coach Vance Edmondson. “But you are not going to win very often when your opponent shoots 29 free throws and you shoot six.”

North Central closed the first half on a 18-5 run to take a 27-20 lead at intermission.

Senior Gage Wheaton opened the second half with an old-fashioned three-point play as North Central took its largest lead at 30-20.

But the rest of the quarter was less memorable for the Thunderbirds, who made six turnovers in the period, including three on consecutive possessions.

The Panthers capitalized and warmed up, making 8 of 13 shots to take a  41-40 advantage to the fourth quarter after a basket by Hayden Gilstrap.

“After we got up 10, we made several mistakes which helped them get back into the game,” said Edmondson. “With all of that and the free throws, we still had a chance to win this game, but didn’t get it done.”

There were six lead changes in the fourth quarter as neither team could take control. North Central sophomore DeShawn Clark, who made six 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 25 points, turned one into a four-point play which put the Thunderbirds ahead 44-43 in the first minute of the fourth.

Senior James Roberts swished back-to-back treys from the same spot on the baseline in front of the Panther faithful to give the Thunderbirds a 57-52 advantage with two minutes and 17 seconds remaining. The T-birds made 11 3-pointers as they outscored the Panthers 33-12 from distance.

The Panthers scored the next six points, all from the foul line, to regain the lead at 58-57 with 80 seconds remaining. Pierson Barnes made two and then Derron Hazzard hit four on the same possession after a T-bird foul and technical foul by Peyton Seay.

After two North Central missed chances to take the lead, Hazard scored as the RP advantage stood at 60-57. 

Trevor Hadley found Seay streaking to the hoop for two and the deficit was cut to one point with 6.4 ticks remaining.

Hazard then was fouled with 1.3 seconds to play. The sophomore hit two, finishing 8 of 9 at the stripe.

Clark’s heave at the end missed as Riverton Parke, playing just its seventh game and first at home since Dec. 4, improved to 3-4.

Nobody else reached double figures for the Thunderbirds as Roberts made three triples to finish with nine.

Clark had five assists as North Central had 18 assists on its 21 baskets.

Roberts was credited with three steals as the Thunderbirds forced 21 turnovers by the Panthers.

Wheaton had six rebounds but North Central was outrebounded 33-23.

North Central was 21 of 48 shooting, 44% and 11 of 19 from 3-point range, 59%.

Riverton Parke hit 19 of 43 shots and 4 of 8 from 3-point range.

North Central won the JV game 56-47, improving to 7-1. Gavyn Tryon's back-to-back 3-pointers put the Thunderbirds ahead for good at 43-41 in the third quarter.

Tyron finished with 23 points. Branden Daves and Garrette Lowe each added 11 points.



NORTH CENTRAL (59) — Jacob Adams 0 0-0 0, Trevor Hadley 2 0-0 5, Peyton Seay 3 2-2 8, James Roberts 3 0-0 9, Wyatt Ison  2 0-0 5, DeShawn Clark  8 3-3 25, Gage Wheaton 3 1-1 7, Keegan Morris 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 6-6 59.

RIVERTON PARKE (62) — Pierson Barnes 3 4-5 11, Jacob Hopton 0 0-0 0, Jacob Bolenbaugh 4 3-4 13, Ashton Hines 2 2-3 7, Derron Hazzard 3 8-9 14, Braden Duke 1 0-0 2, Hayden Gilstrap 5 3-8 13, Malachi Hurt 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 20-29 62. 

North Central 7 20 13 19 — 59

Riverton Parke 8 12 21 21 — 62

3-pointers — North Central 11 (Clark 6, Roberts 3, Ison, Hadley), Riverton Parke 4 (Bolenbaugh 2, Barnes, Hines). Fouls  — North Central 17, Riverton Parke 12. Technical foul — Peyton. Fouled out — Roberts. Rebounds — North Central 23, Riverton Parke 33. Assists — North Central 18, Riverton Parke 8. Steals — North Central 8, Riverton Parke 8. Turnovers — North Central 14, Riverton Parke 17. Blocks — North Central 3, Riverton Parke 2.

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