Hammond holds on, 60-59 Centennial falls short at buzzer

January 21, 1993|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

A year ago, Centennial's Damian Biggs beat Hammond twice with last-second baskets. Yesterday at Centennial, the senior had a chance to do it again, but his baseline jumper bounced off the rim at the buzzer, preserving the Bears' 60-59 victory.

An effective full-court press and clutch shooting by Kris Jefferson rallied Hammond (5-5 overall, 3-1 league) from a 54-43 deficit in the final five minutes. Hammond outscored the Eagles 17-5 during that span, and Jefferson scored nine points, including the game-winning drive with 12 seconds left.

Jefferson (15 points, seven rebounds) didn't start and had only two points at halftime, but he sank a three-point shot with two minutes left that cut Centennial's lead to 57-55.

Mark James' two free throws put Centennial ahead 59-55 with 1:02 left.

Then Jefferson sank another three-pointer with 44 seconds left, bringing the Bears to 59-58.

Centennial (9-3, 2-2), which committed six turnovers down the stretch against Hammond's full-court press and half-court trap, turned it over again.

Hammond was awarded a jump ball following a missed Bears shot, and then Jefferson drove the lane for the winning basket.

Kelvin Stevens stole the inbounds pass -- his second steal during the 17-5 run -- but missed a one-and-one with six seconds left.

Biggs (13 points, 11 rebounds) then dribbled the ball the length of the floor and missed a 15-footer.

The game was close until midway through the third quarter, when Centennial's Brian Hulka (12 points) sparked a 16-2 Eagles run. The 6-foot-2 senior scored 10 points, including two three-point shots.

Centennial used Biggs to bring the ball downcourt many times throughout the game.

"We denied him [Biggs] the ball down the stretch and purposefully left James open so that we could come over and double-team him," Hammond coach Jack Burke said.

Mike Matthews (19 points, 10 rebounds) shot well in the first half, scoring 13 points to keep Hammond within two points at halftime.

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