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CURRENT ARTICLE
12/19/2009 - HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL: NORTH STAR GETS HOT, DOWNS SOUTHWEST

(NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR)

By RON POWELL
Lincoln Journal Star

The only disappointment Lincoln North Star had about the first half Saturday night was that it ended.

The host Navigators hit 15 of 22 shots in the first 16 minutes and 6 of 8 from beyond the three-point arc in taking a 20-point halftime lead before coasting to a 63-47 boys basketball triumph against Lincoln Southwest.

"That's as well as we've played in a half in the seven seasons we've had here," said North Star coach Tony Quattrocchi, whose 3-3 team took a 38-18 lead into intermission. North Star finished 20-of-30 from the field (66 percent) and 7-of-11 on three-pointers.

"We played very good team offense, shared the ball and really moved it to get open shots," said Quattrocchi, whose team's largest lead was 43-20 midway through the third quarter. "On the other end, we executed the defensive game plan to perfection."

Senior point guard Joe Hartley and junior reserve Eric Eickhoff were a combined 6-of-8 on three-pointers, as they scored 13 points apiece to lead four Gators in double figures. Creighton Morris didn't miss a shot, going 4-for-4 from the field inside and sinking all four free throws he attempted for 12 points.

Senior Jok Kut finished with 10 points, including North Star's first eight, including a traditional three-point play and a three-pointer from left of the key. Kut also blocked two shots.

"We always look inside first, and when we scored a few times down there, that opened up the three-point shot," Hartley said. "We had it all going tonight."

Southwest (2-4) got no closer than 10 points in the second half, despite a ramped-up defense that forced 14 turnovers in the last 16 minutes and limited the Gators to eight shot attempts. North Star kept the Silver Hawks at bay by hitting 12 of 19 free throws in the fourth quarter.

Senior guard Rylan Cotton and junior post Dylan Heath each scored 10 points to pace Southwest. The Hawks shot just 35 percent from the field and hit just 1 of 9 threes.

"North Star shot it well, but our defensive intensity wasn't there the first half either," Southwest coach Duane Baack said. "We're a lot better team than what we're performing right now, and somehow we need to turn it around."

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