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February 15, 2013

BOYS HOOPS PREVIEW: Title on the line for Kats

Richmond visits Kokomo tonight in battle of NCC leaders.

Richmond travels to Kokomo today in the final North Central Conference date for both squads. Richmond is 5-1 in the NCC. Kokomo is 6-0.

You don’t need anything else to understand the magnitude of tonight’s game.

“It’s a championship game for both teams and they don’t get any bigger than that,” Kokomo coach Brian McCauley said.

The Class 4A No. 9 Kats (17-2) have wrapped up a share of the title but would like to win it outright. If Richmond wins, the Red Devils (14-6) will horn in on a share of the crown. McCauley expects an electric game, he hopes the atmosphere matches.

“For a championship, there’s no better place to play than at Memorial Gym,” he said. “We hope that we have a great crowd, great support. We’re going to need it and we’re looking forward to seeing Memorial Gym full and try to go after an NCC title outright.”

Richmond will make that task difficult. The Red Devils lost their NCC opener, at home, by a dozen points to Huntington North, but have won every league date since then by six points or more.

“They’re very, very athletic,” McCauley said. “They are very strong physically. They are very capable from the 3-point line, they do a very good job of penetrating, they’re good offensive rebounders, they apply a lot of pressure defensively. They’ve got great guard play and they’re good inside because they’re athletic and quick.”

Senior guard Charles Hampton leads Richmond at 14.4 points per game. Sophomore point guard Joel Oakafor averages 10.3 ppg and 4.5 assists and another sophomore guard, Davious Webster, adds 9.3 ppg.

“I think defensive transition’s going to be huge,” McCauley said. “Richmond is great, the best team we’ve played in the open court. Anderson was really good, but Richmond I think is more athletic than Anderson and even better in the open court. We had a very important win at Anderson [69-64], but Richmond did the same thing and beat them by 12 at Anderson.”

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