(January 24th, 2015) – PIONEER: Typically, a homecoming game involves a team returning to their home court to go up against an opponent that is likely to be over matched. This increases the chances of a victory for that travel weary squad greater, thus giving the hometown crowd something to celebrate.
That’s not the route North Central took, however.
Instead, for their homecoming, the Eagles did battle with Hicksville, the toast of the Green Meadows Conference, which is producing an outstanding brand of basketball in its own right. Scheduling such a strong foe during such an important night displayed guts by the North Central Athletic Department. And that’s how the boys of Pioneer played on Saturday; gutsy.
It wasn’t enough, though, as Hicksville used a monster second half performance to spoil North Central’s Homecoming 71-32.
Jordan Reeves gave the Eagle boys a 6-0 led to start the contest, knocking down a pair of threes on North Central’s first two possessions. From there, the two units battled back and forth throughout the first half, with the Aces gain the upper hand in the middle of the second quarter. By halftime, they held a 9 point advantage, leaving North Central in a 28-19 deficit.
It was the third quarter when momentum began to tip further and further away from the Eagles. Giving up 20 points to Hicksville in the period, the Pioneer boys were only able to answer with 8 of their own. The final stanza played out similarly, as the Eagles were outscored 23-5 down the stretch.
Athleticism and depth made the difference in this game. Hicksville normally relies on their full-court press to generate turnovers, yet the experience laden Eagle squad broke through the Aces’ pressure with relative ease. But the same could not be said of North Central’s efforts against the Hicksville half court defense. Aggressively shooting the passing lanes, the Ace defenders intercepted the ball a good many times, leading to transition baskets. The Eagles turned the ball over 16 times against the Hicksville defense.
As the game wore on, North Central’s limited bench became more of an issue. With just seven players who consistently see time throughout a game, the Eagles looked tired in the second half. Hicksville had a full roster of players contribute to their win, appearing fresh late into the contest.
Reeves, a senior, led the North Central offense with 15 points. Sophomore Steven Williams put up 8 points, attacking the rim with ferocity all night long. The senior duo of Josh Sawyer and Brady Zuver each added 3 points in the loss as well.