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21st Century battles Hammond

21st Century prepares for Tuesday night's game at Hammond. The Cougars won the Lebanon Holiday Tournament last week.

21st Century battles Hammond

Hammond's Malik Miller gets a drink during a free throw at Tuesday night's home game against 21st Century.

HAMMOND — December is becoming Globetrotter's month for boys basketball in the area.

Region teams spend many nights on the road playing teams from different time zones and zip codes.

But on Tuesday night at Hammond High, the second part of the season tipped off as local teams started competing against their own for the 2-1-9's bragging rights.

If the game against 21st Century is symbolic of the rest of this season, start buying your tickets now.

Hammond's Amari Young came off the bench and hit his first few shots and didn't stop, helping the Wildcats to a 99-94 overtime win over the Cougars.

Young, a TF South transfer, scored a career-high 26 points in the win. Malik Miller scored 21 and had 13 in the fourth quarter and OT, while Immanuael Anderson was big inside with 17 points and Montell Bates scored 15.

"They dominated us in the first quarter," Hammond coach Larry Moore Jr. said. "(DeAndre Gholston) was killing us. He's a bad matchup for us because we don't have anyone that big."

Hammond held a two-point lead with 24 seconds left in regulation when Gholston grabbed a rebound and got the putback to force overtime.

Gholston finished with 34 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out.

"Me and him are real cool," Miller said. "He got the bragging rights last year and I got 'em this year. With us, this team, you're never going to know who's on."

The Wildcats (7-2) hit eight 3-pointers, three coming in the fourth quarter, which caused Cougars coach Rodney Williams to exclaim, "Man, can they shoot."

The first quarter was all Cougars, coming off their win of the Lebanon Holiday Tournament last week, jumping out to a 24-12 lead.

The 6-foot-4 Kent State-bound Gholston scored eight in the first quarter and seemed unstoppable in the paint. The Wildcats had several sloppy turnovers but got a lift when junior guard Amiri Young scored 10 points in the first frame.

Hammond's Miller got it going in the second quarter, getting six points and getting the halftime deficit down to 43-36.

21st Century (11-4) got 17 points from Triyonta Lomax and 14 from Johnell Davis, but some mistakes down the stretch by the sophomore point guard didn't help the Cougars.

"I just come off the bench and try to find my shot," Young said. "That's the biggest thing. Taking the right shot. Then when a few of them start going down, I just try to ride the ride.

"I wasn't here last year but I know we haven't beaten them in a couple years so this was a big game for us."

Moore was pumped about the win in front of a good, loud home crowd when the temperature outside was below zero.

"Let me tell you this, I know we have good guards and 21st Century's got very good guards," Moore said. "Between the two teams we have the best guards in the Region.

"We just beat a very good team over there."


Sports Reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.