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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

North Side beats Merrillville, heads to state for first time since 1965

North Side celebrates following its 82-73 victory over Merrillville in the Class 4A North Semistate on Saturday at Huntington North. (By Reggie Hayes of The News-Sentinel)
North Side celebrates following its 82-73 victory over Merrillville in the Class 4A North Semistate on Saturday at Huntington North. (By Reggie Hayes of The News-Sentinel)
North Side junior Brandan Johnson goes to the basket as Merrillville's Jonah Jackson defends during Saturday's Class 4A North Semistate at Huntington North. (By Reggie Hayes of The News-Sentinel)
North Side junior Brandan Johnson goes to the basket as Merrillville's Jonah Jackson defends during Saturday's Class 4A North Semistate at Huntington North. (By Reggie Hayes of The News-Sentinel)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Saturday, March 18, 2017 05:34 pm
HUNTINGTON — After 52 years, North Side is headed back to the state championship.  The Legends (27-2) built a lead of as many as 21 points then survived a late Merrillville rally to win 82-73 in the Class 4A North Semistate. 

North Side advances to take on Ben Davis (22-5) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis next Saturday night. 

A Juan Quarles bucket with 6:19 left in regulation put the Legends up 64-43, but the Pirates went to work. Quarles, who finished with 16 points and six rebounds, fouled out shortly thereafter and, with Keion Brooks playing with four fouls, Merrillville got aggressive. The lead would shrink to as little as six at 79-73 late in the fourth quarter. 

North Side shot just 22-of-39 from the free throw line, but hit 8-of-10 over the final 1:15 to survive. 

Brooks finished with a team-high 20 points for thr Legends, while Davontae Kinnie and Brandan Johnson added 15 each. Jaylen Butz went for 13 points and 18 rebounds. 

Merrillville (21-8) was paced by sixth man Johnny Bernard, who dropped 32. Cameron Wilbon added 16. 

North Side last appeared in the state championship in 1965 when the then-Redskins under Coach By Hey lost to Indianapolis Washington 64-57. 

The Class 4A championship game is tentatively scheduled to tip off at approximately 8:15 p.m. next Saturday night. 

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