GARY | Poets write. Comics crack jokes. Custodians push the broom. And politicians “bend” the truth.
There's one thing that Hammond's Levon Hamilton knows he must do.
“I've been doing this a long time,” Hamilton said Friday night. “I'm a shooter. Shooters keep shooting.”
In Bowman Academy's Black Friday Shootout, Hamilton did just that after a rough start against Gary 21st Century, And the tickling of the twine allowed the Wildcats to pull away with the 66-47 win, giving Larry Moore Jr. his first win at Hammond.
Hamilton scored 21 points for a roster filled with talent, size and athleticism.
“We've been working hard, it was good to go up against someone else,” Moore Jr. said. “They were beating us off the dribble in the first quarter. We adjusted and our zone really changed the game. Our defense and rebounding was really good. We expect to win most of the rebounding wars.”
Hammond's Juwan Holmes had 14 points and eight rebounds. Michael Kirkendall scored eight points and had 10 boards. Robert Evans didn't score but had 10 rebounds. Hamilton had five caroms, five steals and four assists.
“We really, really stress defense,” Hamilton said. “We go deep. Boxing out and getting in people's faces is what we want to be about.”
The Cougars (1-1) led 16-15 after the first quarter. The Class A school looked very good. Ahkee Porter, a 6-foot-6 senior, scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the first eight minutes.
“We didn't play with the intensity we needed to,” 21st Century coach Rodney Williams said of his team that had 22 turnovers and shot 16-of-60 from the field.
The Cougars scored the first bucket of the second quarter and then it was all Wildcats all the time. Hammond scored 20 straight points to open a 35-18 lead with two minutes left in the quarter. Then, 21st Century finished the quarter on a 10-2 run to pull within 37-28 at the break.
Louis Brown, another 6-foot-6 senior for the Cougars, scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“We shot ourselves in the foot too much,” Williams said. “We'd get ourselves on a run, have a turnover, or the ball would bounce out of bounds. We've got to get better and we will.”