Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette North Side junior Keion Brooks Jr. looks to pass the ball against Homestead in the second quarter of Friday night's SAC Tournament semifinals at Wayne High School.
Saturday, December 30, 2017 1:00 am
Archers looking to halt Legends' streak in boys title game
AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette
South Side 62, Wayne 57
North Side 66, Homestead 58
Who: North Side vs. South Side
When: 8 p.m. today
The Parkview Sports Medicine SAC Holiday Tournament boys basketball championship game is set as North Side will be playing for its fifth straight tournament title while South Side is in its first title game since 2007, a loss to Bishop Luers. The Archers have not won a title since 2004.
The road to the championship wasn't easy for top-seeded North Side (9-3), which defeated Homestead 66-58 in the first semifinal.
South Side held off Wayne 62-57 in the second semifinal.
In the opener, Homestead (4-5) kept pace and the teams were tied at 24 at the half.
In the third quarter, though, the Spartans went up 35-30 with under three minutes remaining before the Legends closed with 10 straight points to take a 40-35 lead going into the fourth.
“I thought just to speed up the pace in the second half was key,” Legends coach Shabaz Khaliq said. “We were able to get two or three extra passes per offensive possession and do some things that we weren't able to do in the first half. I thought our guys stepped up the intensity level after halftime.”
The prospect of a fifth straight championship, though, isn't the focus for the North Side program. The focus is getting some players their first, including senior Austin Boucher, who scored 22 points in the semifinal.
“The big thing (Khaliq) was saying is that this isn't No. 5,” he said. “This is No. 1 for most of us, so we're winning it for people who haven't won it yet. I'm grateful for my teammates that play hard and try to win one for me.”
Keion Brooks Jr. also scored 22 points for the Legends while Brandan Johnson added 13.
Grant Raber led the Spartans with 16 points, Onye Ezeakudo added 15 and Jake Archbold 13.
Wayne (4-3) jumped to a 9-2 lead in the second game, but South Side (6-2) tied it and took a 15-13 lead at the end of the first.
The teams were tied at 28 at halftime, but the Archers built a 46-35 lead with 2:20 left in the third quarter thanks to a 16-5 run that included four 3-pointers from Mikale Stevenson.
The Generals went on a 9-4 run, including 5 of 7 from the free-throw line, to open the fourth quarter and tie the game at 52. The Generals took a 57-55 lead with 3:50 left thanks to a 3-pointer from Kylon Jarreau.
South Side's Trejean Didier hit a 3 and converted free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
“We had to be able to stay focused, hit shots when we needed to, follow execution,” Didier said. “When it's the fourth quarter like that, it's winning time.
“We knew they were going to come out aggressive, 100 miles per hour, like they always do. They play with a lot of energy, and we try to match their energy but at the same time, we needed to be able to slow down and play our pace, stay under control and not lose our focus.”
Stevenson scored 16 for the Archers and Didier, Asher Blum and Demarque Perkins each scored 11.
Jarreau had 17 for Wayne and Shaquan Sanders 13.
Tonight, South Side looks to avenge one of its two losses this season – a 76-52 defeat Dec. 8 to North Side.
“(North Side) came into our place and beat us pretty good at the beginning of the year,” Archers coach J.J. Foster said. “As far as our time frame, I knew it was too early for our kids. That was a big-time atmosphere. If anything, I think it prepared us for the holiday tournament. It was standing-room only in there. We didn't perform well on that big stage, let's come out here now and get one under our belt.”