ARCADIA – It was a game of missed opportunities for the Northwestern’s boys basketball team Friday night in its Hoosier Conference East Division road game at Hamilton Heights. Northwestern held a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but the host Huskies owned the final eight minutes.

Hamilton Heights used the game’s lone sustained run, a 10-0 mark over five minutes, to earn a 45-42 victory, surviving a last second 3-point attempt from the Tigers.

“That was not the looked we wanted on the final play,” said Northwestern coach Jim Gish. “You know they were going to get out on the perimeter and try to take away our 3-point shooters, especially when we didn’t have any timeouts left. They did a nice job and we didn’t set very good screens and that made it easier to guard.”

After leading 32-29 early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers (3-5, 0-2 HC East) suffered a rash of turnovers and empty possessions, allowing the Huskies (4-5, 2-1 HC East) to go on a 10-0 run over a five-minute span. Evan Williamson tied the game with a three-pointer with 7:00 left and Luke Carroll scored six of the next seven points to make it 39-32 Heights with 4:40 left.

Northwestern finally got back on the board with 2:23 left when Eli Edwards scored inside, but Heights immediately followed with an Isaac Tuma basket on a fast break. Edwards would then score the final six points for Northwestern as Heights struggled to close the game out from the free-throw line. The Tigers had several opportunities to cut into the lead in the final two minutes, but turnovers were a major hindrance to their plans.

“It’s the same thing that has bothered us much of the season, especially the unforced turnovers,” said Gish. “I think we ended up with 17 turnovers and that is a lot of empty possessions where you don’t even get a shot up. For us to pull out these close games, which we have had a lot of, we have to take care of the basketball.”

Edwards would score with 0:28 left to cut the lead to 44-40, then the Tigers were able to get the rebound from a missed free throw. Edwards was then fouled with 0:14 left and cut the lead in half with two more free throws. Tuma would split a pair of free throws with 0:12.4 seconds left, but the Tigers were only able to get off a challenged 3-pointer as time expired that was well off the mark.

Edwards would finish the game with a double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds. He was a force early on as he had six of each in the first quarter, but the Huskies would take a 13-9 lead after one behind nine points from Kinder. Northwestern would mostly dominate the second quarter, taking a 23-21 lead into the half on a basket from Edwards with 51 seconds left.

“He is our double-double machine,” said Gish of Edwards. “That’s what he brings night in and night out. He gets to the glass and works his tail off in the post for us. He’s a work horse for us on both ends of the floor.”

Mario Reed would have a big third quarter to help keep the Tigers in front. He scored six of his 12 points to keep Northwestern in front 31-29 after three and added and early free throw in the fourth quarter, but that was the final point for over five minutes.

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