North Central's boys high school basketball team opened its season with a victory over Eastern Greene on Saturday night, winning the clash of the Thunderbirds 67-52. 

North Central coach Vance Edmondson saw flashes of greatness in the contest, but believes that there is more to improve for his team.

“To get that first conference win under our belt early, I’m happy and I think the positives outweighed the negatives tonight,” Edmondson said. “If we can keep the turnover and rebounding margin in our favor, those will be two big things for us this year.”

An airtight Eastern Greene defensive presence down low left little opportunity for North Central early as the hosts were forced to take to the 3-point shot to get on the scoreboard. North Central found its first points of the game off of the hand of junior James Roberts. Roberts and senior Bryton Suggs each had another 3-point basket to take an early 9-5 advantage.

North Central continued to fire away from deep as sophomore Trevor Hadley hit back-to-back shots from behind the perimeter to push its lead to 15-10 after the first quarter. Hadley led the team in scoring with 21 points through the night, shooting 8 for 11 from the field.

Eastern Greene continued to attempt to chip away as junior Sam Rees scored several times. Despite that, the hot hand of Hadley reappeared in the second quarter as the sophomore hit two more 3-point shots for a 21-12 lead. All of North Central’s first 21 points came from behind the 3-point line. The home team led 33-21 at halftime.

North Central began the third quarter on a 10-2 run behind baskets from sophomore DeShawn Clark and Hadley. Eastern Greene junior Brenden Johnson used his 6-foot-3 frame to dominate in the paint, scoring several times in the period. Johnson scored 14 points to pair with six rebounds in the game.

A pair of shots from Hadley reasserted the North Central lead at 49-30, leading to a 55-33 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

Eastern Greene outscored the Thunderbirds 19-12 in the final period but it was North Central that walked away with a 67-52 victory.

“We have a lot of growing up to do and we are going to have to search and find ourselves,” Eastern Greene head coach Jamie Hudson said. “We need to play like a team and we have a long way to go to figure out who we want to be.”

EASTERN GREENE (52) – Helton 1-1 0-0 2, Rees 5-12 2-4 15, Creager 2-5 2-2 7, Johnson 5-11 4-7 14, Myers 0-2 2-2 2, Birch 2-5 5-5 9, Valentine 0-0 3-6 3. 15-36 FG, 18-26 FT, 52 TP.

NORTH CENTRAL (67) – Hadley 8-11 0-0 21, Clark 1-4 1-2 4, Roberts 3-4 0-0 8, Young 0-2 0-0 0, Suggs 3-14 2-2 9, Brooks 4-5 4-7 12, Wheaton 1-3 2-2 4, Curtis 1-1 2-2 4, Brewer 1-1 2-4 4, #14 0-1 0-2 0, Morris 0-0 0-0 0. 22-46 FG, 13-21 FT, 67 TP.

Eastern Greene=10=11=12=19=—=52

North Central=15=18=22=12=—=67

3-point shooting – EG 4-13 (Rees 3-4, Creager 1-3), NC 9-28 (Hadley 5-8, Clark 1-4, Roberts 2-3, Suggs 1-9). Rebounds – EG 25 (Rees 7), NC 20 (Wheaton 5, Young 4, Team 9). Steals – EG 3 (Creager, Johnson, Valentine), NC 11 (Birch 4, Hadley 2, Suggs 2, Roberts, Young, Curtis). Blocks – EG 0, NC 1 (Hadley). Total fouls – EG 20, NC 21. Fouled out – Johnson, Myers, Clark.

JV – North Central beat Eastern Greene 51-38.

Next – Eastern Greene (0-1) hosts Brown County on Friday. North Central (1-0) hosts Eminence the same night.

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