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North Central drops regular-season finale

Photo by B.J. HARGIS: North Central's Levi Jennings takes the ball to the basket against an Owen Valley defender on Thursday.

FARMERSBURG — North Central battled back from a 17-point first-half deficit and took the lead midway in the fourth quarter. But the host Thunderbirds, who missed 6 of 9 free throws in the fourth quarter, were outscored 10-2 in the final 4 ½ minutes as the Patriots came away with a 51-45 victory in a high school boys basketball game on Thursday night in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Owen Valley, who only made 4 of 20 field goals after taking a 30-21 advantage at the half, shot 10-for-14 at the foul line in the final eight minutes. Overall they were 13 of 19 compared to 11-for-21 by North Central.

“Poor shooting, poor defense, missed free throws and rebounding. There was not a lot that we did right tonight,” said North Central coach Vance Edmondson. “Despite all that, we still took the lead in the fourth quarter.

“We had a couple of chances to expand the lead, but just didn’t execute. This just was a poor performance.”

For Owen Valley in the fourth period, Stephen Atkinson made 4 of 4 free throws, Zach Hamilton was 2 of 2 and Zane Sparks made just 4 of 7, but swished four in a row in the final 43 seconds after missing three in a row earlier in the period.

Senior James Roberts’ only basket — a 3-point from the baseline in front of the North Central bench — put the Thunderbirds up 43-41 with four minutes and 32 seconds remaining. The basket was set up by penetration and a dish from Jacob Adams.

“Adams did a whale of a job,” Edmondson said of the junior who had nine points, five rebounds and one assist. “He was our lone bright spot.”

North Central missed 5 of 6 field goal attempts after that and its final four foul shots.

Owen Valley scored its final 10 points from the foul line, compensating for 2 of 12 shooting to finish the game.

Tyler Vaughn’s 3-pointer put the T-birds ahead 9-8 at the 2:54 mark of the first quarter. It would be their last lead until Roberts’s trey — a span of 22 plus minutes.

The game turned when the Patriots, who improved to 11-8, made three straight 3-pointers in a span of 110 seconds to begin the second quarter, taking a 26-13 advamtage. Drew Martin drilled two of his three treys to start the quarter and Brandon Bonebrake hit another as Owen Valley took the largest lead of the game.

“We identified Martin as a shooter,” said Edmondson. “But we did not get a hand up in his face.

“Those threes put us in a deep hole, but we came back and took the lead in the fourth. We just couldn’t finish the game.

North Central shot 15 of 50, 30%. Trevor Hadley also had nine points, but no one reached double digits for the Thunderbirds.

Atkinson had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Bonebrake also had 11 points as he finished with three triples.

DeShawn Clark had nine rebounds and six points for NCHS. Senior Gage Wheaton grabbed seven rebounds as North Central had a 38-36 advantage on the boards.

North Central won the JV game 51-41.

The Thunderbirds, 12-10, will open play at the Class A Clay City Sectional 57 at 6 p.m. Wednesday against Eminence. The Thunderbirds beat the Eels 57-53 at Eminence in December.

OWEN VALLEY (51) — Eli Wood 2 2-3 6, Zack Hamilton 3 2-2 8, Zane Sparks 1 4-7 6, Brandon Bonebrake 4 0-0 11, Drew Martin 3 0-1 9, Stephen Atkinson  3 5-6 11. Totals 16 13-19  51. 

NORTH CENTRAL (45) — Tyler Vaughn 1 2-2 5, Jacob Adams 4 0-2 9, Trevor Hadley 4 0-0 9, Peyton Seay 0 1-2 1, James Roberts 1 0-0 3, Wyatt Ison 1 4-10 6, DeShawn Clark 1 4-4 6, Gage Wheaton 1 0-0 2, Levi Jennings 2 0-1 4. Totals 15 11-21 45.

Owen Valley 17 13   7 14 — 51  

North Central 11 10 12 12 — 45

3-pointers — Owen Valley 6 (Bonebrake 3, Martin 3, North Central 4 (Vaughn, Adams, Hadley Roberts). Fouls — Owen Valley 19,  North Central 19. Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Owen Valley 36, North Central 38. Assists — Owen Valley 10, North Central 6. Steals — Owen Valley 1, North Central 0. Turnovers — Owen Valley 11, North Central 10. Blocks — Owen Valley 2, North Central 1.

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