BOYS BASKETBALL

Gavit, Lew Wallace set up semifinal matchup at Hammond Civic Center

2014-03-04T21:00:00Z 2014-03-05T01:59:09Z Gavit, Lew Wallace set up semifinal matchup at Hammond Civic CenterHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Familiarity breeds as much comfort as it does conflict.

Clark and Gavit, friendly members of the Great Lakes Athletic Conference, have drawn each other in the sectional opener each of the last five years.

Over the last six years, thanks to a double-round robin in the conference, plus the postseason, the Pioneers and Gladiators have played each other 17 times.

Clark leads the series 9-8, but on Tuesday, in the opener of the Clark Sectional at the Hammond Civic Center, Gavit swept the 2013-14 season series with a 46-34 victory.

In the second game, Northwestern Conference foes Lew Wallace and Roosevelt, who haven't met in the sectional since 2011, repeated the close battle from earlier in the season. Gavit will face the Hornets in Friday's semifinal, a 71-69 winner.

"You know in games like that when Hammond schools are playing each other always go down to the wire," Gavit coach Brandon Ridenour said. "These teams know each other so well. We told our kids, if you expect to come out here and win just because you've beaten them before, expect this game to be close."

Roosevelt opened the second game with an advantage before the clock even started. Lew Wallace incorrectly entered jersey numbers into the official scorebook, and changed them after the officials had signed off on the book.

The technical foul assessed to the Hornets gave Roosevelt a 1-0 lead that quickly turned into a 10-0 advantage.

Wallace crept back thanks to a 10-2 run to end the first quarter, but turnovers hampered the four-time defending sectional champs.

The Hornets (9-7) fell behind as many as nine points with 5:47 left in the game, but used a 3 from Richard Wash to pull within four and hit 8 of 12 from the free-throw line in the final quarter.

"I think they did a good job of staying focused," Lew Wallace coach Brandon Scott said. "Turnovers continued to hurt us into the fourth quarter, but I always felt that at least if we could take care of the ball, we could come back."

Roosevelt hit a 3 at the buzzer from LaDontaz Tolbert, but it was a little too late. Alexander Buggs led 'Velt (9-7) with 17 points and Daris Bates add10. Tevin Ferris scored 10 and had a team-best seven rebounds.

Keonte Bridges led all scorers with 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets. Aarion Green added 10 points with four assists and four steals and Wash chipped in 15 points.

Gavit beat Clark after falling behind 6-0 to start the game. A 14-0 run that stretched into the second quarter put the Glads (6-14) up for good.

"All year that has been our problem, digging that one little hole we can't get out of," Clark coach Joe Delgado said. "We can hang for three quarters, and that one quarter is always a big one for us and we can't get out of it."

The Pioneers (0-22) were stalled by turnovers, including 12 in the first half and 23 overall.

Behind Eric Sims, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half, Gavit took a comfortable 22-14 lead into halftime. Jarren Thomas, who also had 10 at halftime, finished with a game-best 15 for the Gladiators.

"We have five seniors and we told them that they were only guaranteed 16 more minutes of basketball," Ridenour said. "They can't worry about Friday, they can't worry about the next game, a lot can happen in those next 16 minutes."

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