Despite the halftime score, Tuesday night’s matchup between North Hall and Johnson did not disappoint as Brandon Williams put on a show from beyond the 3-point arc early to help the Trojans to a 77-64 win in Oakwood.
Carson Heinen was the man down the stretch for North Hall (9-4) as the senior guard went to the free throw line 15 times in the final period of play. He made 10 of those to help his team distance itself again.
At the break, Johnson (4-10) trailed 44-24 following a 25-point second quarter from the Trojans.
The big quarter was boosted by Williams knocking down four consecutive 3-pointers, three of which were from beyond NBA range.
“The shot’s there and open, so I shot it,” Williams said. “I was feeling it.”
His coach, Tyler Sanders, said he doesn’t care where he lets the ball fly from.
“I’ve got no problem with it,” Sanders said. “Brandon knows his role. His role is to make wide-open 3s. He did his job. I’m proud of him. He did his part and what we asked him to do. I don’t care where he shoots it from.”
On the night, Williams (18 points) put six long-range jumpers through the net, hitting one in the first and another in the third.
As the game moved into the third quarter, the Knights began to reel in the big deficit. Early in the fourth period, it was back to a nine-point ballgame.
With 4:12 left, North Hall held a 65-55 lead.
Post players Andrew Sims and Dwayne Wilson helped keep the game manageable late. Sims scored 11 of his 15 points in the final quarter, including making 5 of 8 free throws. Wilson was 1 of 2 from the line in the fourth, but had 7 points to total 14 in the contest.
Overall, the Knights were 12 of 21 from the stripe.
“Not our best night from the free throw line by any stretch of the imagination,” Johnson coach Tim Slater said. “Difficult when, in the first half, you only shoot four free throws despite them being a pressing team.”
After being up by as many as 24 points in the third quarter, Sanders sees the game as an example of how his team closes out games.
“We’ve got to get better at closing out games as a group,” he said. “We built a big lead, but we didn’t hold it like we were supposed to. We’ve got a lot to improve on.”
On the other bench, Slater saw the contest as a sign of life in his team.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Slater said. “The theme of the year was when we got squeezed, we give up. Tonight was definitely not a give up kind of night. We fought hard and tried to execute.”
Heinen finished his night with 26 for North Hall to lead all scorers. Teammate Evan Easton chipped in 14. Along with Sims’ 15 points, Ahmad Harrison also knocked in 15 points for Johnson.
Next up, both teams begin region play Friday night.
Johnson will travel to Madison County, while North Hall hosts Monroe Area at 8:30 p.m. Friday.
NORTH HALL GIRLS 52, JOHNSON 37: Guard Taylor Anne Kelley notched her first of two 3-pointers 20 seconds into the first quarter for the Lady Trojans (8-6) and they never looked back.
Kelley finished with 14 points in the game, scoring 10 in the first half.
The Lady Knights (1-12) had 13 points at the break with 11 from Kimmie Brady. Brady was the only player to score for Johnson in the first 15:36.
With 24 seconds left in the first half, teammate Katie Wiese hit a short-range jumper for the other two points at the half.
Brady finished the game with 14. Hannah Hester had 11 for Johnson.
Tatum McQuillan notched 13 points for the Lady Trojans.
Next up, Johnson will travel to Madison County, while North Hall hosts Monroe Area at 7 p.m. Friday.