Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

February 8, 2013

Kats secure share of NCC title

Kokomo pulls away from Logan in fourth quarter.

Logansport — Logansport was in position to possibly pull off an upset of Kokomo in boys basketball Thursday night at the Berry Bowl.

But the Wildkats made championship plays down the stretch. And they were able to pull away to a 58-46 win to secure at least a share of the North Central Conference title.

The Wildkats (17-2, 6-0 NCC) host second-place Richmond (14-5, 5-1) next Friday for a chance to win the league title outright. The Berries dropped to 9-8 and 2-4.

“The guys came out and beat a solid, aggressive, determined Logansport team,” Kokomo coach Brian McCauley said. “Obviously they played well and made it a battle, and we knew it was going to be that.”

The Berries pulled to within 47-44 midway through the fourth quarter after Jayson Higgins knocked down his second straight 3-pointer.

Tayler Persons answered with a putback basket and then drew a foul on a drive and hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 50-44 with 2:47 remaining.

During the sequence Antonio Penny and Andrew Wamsley each missed on good looks from 15 feet. The Wildkats got three tries on their next possession, and Hakim Burnett made the Berries pay by drawing a foul and knocking down both free throws. Burnett later scored on another drive with 1:20 to go to make it 54-44, and it was academic from there.

The bigger Wildkats outrebounded the Berries 29-18 for the game including 12-5 on the offensive glass.

“We really got back to rebounding the way we want to,” McCauley said. “We had 45 shots on the night, they had 40. So those five extra shots are significant.”

LaBradford Sebree had 15 points and five boards to lead the Kats. Persons finished with 13 points, Burnett had 12 points and five boards and Erik Bowen added 10 points and a game-high eight boards. Kylee Beheler chipped in four points and six rebounds.

McCauley singled out the play of Burnett, who celebrated his 18th birthday on the night.

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