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Panthers Shock HSE in Sectional Action

February 28, 2013
By Rob Hendrix of Indianapolis North Central High School



For the second year in a row, North Central and Hamilton Southeastern met in the opening round of sectionals.  Last year, the Royals broke the hearts of the Panthers when Gary Harris (Michigan State) banked home a game-winning 35-foot shot at the buzzer.  In stunning fashion, this year North Central sent the Royals into the off season with a furious come-from behind 78-68 overtime victory.  

Trailing most of the game, and by as many as 15 points late in the 3rd quarter, North Central started making progress on the deficit midway through the final stanza.  Still, things didn't look good for the Panthers as they trailed by 8 points with 4 minutes left.  Showing no quit, and behind the leadership of senior Darious Latham (19 points), the Panthers mounted a game-tieing comeback.  Latham, the 6'5" 185 pound future I.U. defensive lineman scored 14 points in the final 5 minutes and with the help of his teammates, particularly junior Perry Poindexter (16 points), freshman Eron Gordon (16 points) and Keldrick Lesure (12 points) the Panthers managed to take the game into OT.

Down by 2 points with 5 seconds left, the Panthers went to Latham who took the ball to the basket and scored over 2 defenders sending the game into the extra 4-minute session.

North Central rode the tide of the momentum they had and bolted to a thrilling victory over the team that broke their hearts last year.

NC will face the Fishers Tigers in the 2nd semi-final game on Friday night at Carmel.  Earlier this season, the Panthers defeated Fishers 78-71 in the NC Holiday Tournament.  The opening semi-final on Friday features Noblesville and Carmel.  The two winners will play for the sectional title on Saturday night.


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