• Newsletters
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS
°
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
View complete forecast
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

North Side exorcises 52 years of demons in semistate triumph

Jaylen Butz battles under the basket during Saturday's Class 4A North Semistate game against Merrillville at Huntington North. (By Reggie Hayes of The News-Sentinel)
Jaylen Butz battles under the basket during Saturday's Class 4A North Semistate game against Merrillville at Huntington North. (By Reggie Hayes of The News-Sentinel)
Sophomore Keion Brooks looks to finish at the basket as a pair of Merrillville players defend him during Saturday's Class 4A North Semistate at Huntington North. (By Reggie Hayes of The News-Sentinel)
Sophomore Keion Brooks looks to finish at the basket as a pair of Merrillville players defend him during Saturday's Class 4A North Semistate 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)<br />
<div> </div>
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)<br />
<div> </div>
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)
 

More Information

CLASS 4A NORTH SEMISTATE

NORTH SIDE 82, MERRILLVILLE 73

North Side: Jaylen Butz 6-10 1-6 13, Alijah Long 0-1 0-0 0, Elijah Holmes 0-0 3-4 3, Davontae Kinnie 4-5 7-10 15, Brandan Johnson 5-12 4-7 15, Keion Brooks 7-16 5-8 20, Juan Quarles 6-13 2-4 16. Totals 28-57 22-39 82. 

Merrillville: Nolen Thomas 0-2 0-0 0, Jonah Jackson 2-8 3-3 8, Kameron Jackson 1-2 0-0 2, Jaylon Holmes 0-0 0-0 0, Johnny Bernard 11-19 6-9 32, James Kirklen 2-7 0-1 4, Cameron Wilbon 6-20 4-7 16, Mitchell Ward 0-2 0-0 0, Mileek McMillan 3-9 1-1 9, Sharrod Mitchell 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 25-69 16-23 73. 

Three-point shots: North Side 4-10 (Long 0-1, Johnson 1-1, Brooks 1-3, Quarles 2-5), Merrillville 7-23 (J. Jackson 1-6, K. Jackson 0-1, Bernard 4-6, Kirklen 0-1, Wilbon 0-5, Ward 0-1, McMillan 2-3). Rebounds: North Side 49 (Butz 18, Quarles 6), Merrillville 38 (Wilbon 9, McMillan 6). Assists: North Side 13 (Kinnie 5), Merrillville 3 (Kirklen 2). Turnovers: North Side 18, Merrillville 12. Total fouls: North Side 20, Merrillville 29. 
 
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

A half century of falling short ended on Saturday

Sunday, March 19, 2017 04:58 pm
HUNTINGTON — Keion Brooks Jr. found himself all alone at the basket in the closing seconds of Saturday's semistate victory over Merrillville.  The sophomore threw down an emphatic slam as time expired. 

It wasn't a pretentious thing. It was a "phew" thing. 

Oh, and a "we are back" thing. 

It had been 52 years since North Side was last able to celebrate a semistate championship prior to its 82-73 victory on Saturday at Huntington North. 

The fourth quarter felt about that long for the Legends and their fans. 

A Juan Quarles bucket with 6:19 left in regulation put North Side up by 21, but the Pirates made it interesting the rest of the way. Merrillville went to a full-court press defensively and forced the Legends to beat them from the free throw line. As the minutes passed, the lead continued to shrink...15 points...10 points...eight points. 

With Quarles fouled out, Brooks Jr. holding on with four fouls and Jaylen Butz hobbled with a thigh bruise, North Side led by just six with 20 seconds left. 

But the Legends survived, making 8-of-10 free throws over the final 75 seconds of the game to win and erase 50-plus years of falling short. 

1975. 1976. 1978. 1992. 1995.

Every year has a story of the then-Redskins appearing on the verge of returning to Indianapolis, only to stumble somewhere along the way. 

But not this year. 

"This is special because I went there and I know how hard it is to get (to state finals)," North Side coach Shabaz Khaliq said. "I was on the team (in 1995) that lost trying to get there.

"For us, for alumni, it's a big deal. It's special."

His players echoed that sentiment. 

"It feels great, not only for us but for our school, our staff and everybody that is invested in us," Quarles said. 

Merrillville (21-8) did not make it easy. Despite falling down big in the second half, the Pirates fought back tenaciously. Coach T.J. Lux utilized his deeper bench and North Side's shaky free throw shooting to climb back into the game. But the Legends buckled down defensively, particularly late. North never allowed sharpshooter Jonah Jackson or do-everything forward Cameron Wilbon to find a rhythm. The duo who entered Saturday shooting a combined 300-of-586 (51.1 percent) from the field finished just 8-of-28 (28.5 percent) against the Legends. 

"Defense and execution," said Quarles when asked what the keys to victory were. 

North Side (27-2) outlasted Merrillville's comeback bid partly due to knowing it was coming. Butz was a big presence under the basket defensively all game long, but particularly in the late stages when the Pirates were attempting to score quickly. The senior  was able to contest shots and clean up misses on the boards despite being visibly affected by a sore thigh. He finished with 13 points and 18 rebounds. 

"(Coach Khaliq) told us at halftime that the fourth quarter is when they like to make runs," said Butz. "We knew it was going to be tough."

As the celebrating carried deep into the evening on the floor of North Arena at Huntington North, there were already some thoughts on next week's game — a showdown with Ben Davis (22-5) for the 4A state title. 

The Legends will look to win their first-ever championship in boys basketball and first for a Fort Wayne Community Schools institution since Northrop in 1974. 

"We haven't come this far for nothing," senior Davontae Kinnie said. "We are going to go down there and win one."

  

More Information

More Information

CLASS 4A NORTH SEMISTATE

NORTH SIDE 82, MERRILLVILLE 73

North Side: Jaylen Butz 6-10 1-6 13, Alijah Long 0-1 0-0 0, Elijah Holmes 0-0 3-4 3, Davontae Kinnie 4-5 7-10 15, Brandan Johnson 5-12 4-7 15, Keion Brooks 7-16 5-8 20, Juan Quarles 6-13 2-4 16. Totals 28-57 22-39 82. 

Merrillville: Nolen Thomas 0-2 0-0 0, Jonah Jackson 2-8 3-3 8, Kameron Jackson 1-2 0-0 2, Jaylon Holmes 0-0 0-0 0, Johnny Bernard 11-19 6-9 32, James Kirklen 2-7 0-1 4, Cameron Wilbon 6-20 4-7 16, Mitchell Ward 0-2 0-0 0, Mileek McMillan 3-9 1-1 9, Sharrod Mitchell 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 25-69 16-23 73. 

Three-point shots: North Side 4-10 (Long 0-1, Johnson 1-1, Brooks 1-3, Quarles 2-5), Merrillville 7-23 (J. Jackson 1-6, K. Jackson 0-1, Bernard 4-6, Kirklen 0-1, Wilbon 0-5, Ward 0-1, McMillan 2-3). Rebounds: North Side 49 (Butz 18, Quarles 6), Merrillville 38 (Wilbon 9, McMillan 6). Assists: North Side 13 (Kinnie 5), Merrillville 3 (Kirklen 2). Turnovers: North Side 18, Merrillville 12. Total fouls: North Side 20, Merrillville 29. 
 

Comments

News-Sentinel.com reserves the right to remove any content appearing on its website. Our policy will be to remove postings that constitute profanity, obscenity, libel, spam, invasion of privacy, impersonation of another, or attacks on racial, ethnic or other groups. For more information, see our user rules page.
comments powered by Disqus