ST. JOHN | It lived up to the hype.
Times No. 1 Bowman topped No. 2 Lake Central on Friday night in an instant classic in which both teams controlled parts of the game before the Eagles came out on top 63-58.
"It was a good game. I loved it," Bowman coach Marvin Rea said. "It was good for the fans, good for the region."
Bowman came into the game ranked No. 9 in the state coaches poll, while L.C. was No. 12.
The Bowman defense was the difference down the stretch. The Eagles forced 32 turnovers in the contest.
"I told my guys, we've got 13 starters. Most teams don't have 13 starters, so we're going to keep the pressure on," Rea said. "Thirty-two minutes of hell is what we're going to give anybody."
The Indians (3-1) jumped in front early and led 17-6 after the first quarter. Bowman clawed back in the second quarter, even leading in the final minute, but a Wideman steal and breakaway dunk and a Matt Meneghetti 3-pointer put L.C. up 33-23 at the break.
"We played the worst first half of basketball we could ever play," Rea said. "I told them to just stay together, play together, remain disciplined and stick to what we do well, and sooner or later they'll break."
The Eagles hit their free throws when they had to in the final minutes. Arthur Haggard made two with 9.4 left on the clock to close out the victory.
"They played their basketball in the first half, and they still didn't put us away," Rea said. "We adjusted the rest of the way, and we were still in a good position."
The Eagles (4-0) were with the services of Division I prospect Davon Dillard for the first time this season. The junior forward didn't enter the game until the final seconds of the first quarter and traveled the first time he touched the ball.
Dillard didn't make much of an impact on offense -- aside from hitting some key buckets late -- but did pick up seven steals.
Justin King led Bowman with 17 points. Tyler Wideman had 20 points and seven rebounds, while Tye Wilburn added 18 for Lake Central.