Harris & Hollowell star in thrilling game

Two of the most talented wings in the country faced off on Wednesday night in a game that came down to the end.

Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern was coming off of a loss to Indianapolis (Ind.) North Central and they were hoping to get back on track against Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central. That meant five-star shooting guard Gary Harris faced off with four-star small forward Jeremy Hollowell.

Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean was one spectator in a packed gym at Lawrence Central to see two of the top five teams in the state and two future Big Ten rivals who both rate in the 40 in the country go at each other. Unfortunately for all involved it was a bit of an ugly start, but Harris and Hollowell both kept grinding away.

"I was missing some shots early that I normally hit, but I had faith in what I was doing and kept doing what I was doing, then the shots started to fall," said Harris of the slow start to the game.

While Hollowell was missing shots, the 6-foot-7 and 200 pounder was as aggressive as he has ever been. Known for being an elite talent who can disappear at times, Hollowell is taking it personal in this his senior year to change that perception of his game.

"I just want to come out and play hard every game and show people that I can be aggressive," Hollowell explained. "I just tried to get going and take opportunities off of their trap."

Despite the ugliness that was the first half, Hamilton Southeastern led 34-24 and Harris had seven points while Hollowell only had five. That however would change in the second half as both stars began to catch fire.

It should be no surprise that the two of them rose to the occasion during the second half. Harris and Hollowell have been friendly rivals for years, and the two enjoy the challenge of going against each other.

"It was real fun," said Hollowell of the match up. "Everybody was hyping it up before the game on twitter with him going to Michigan State and me going to Indiana. We are just real good friends who wanted to come out and compete."

Harris added, "It is always fun to go against him. We have been playing each other since we were young."

Behind the strong play of Hollowell and fellow Lawrence Central senior Tyler Fischl, the Bears rallied from that double figure deficit and ended up taking the lead in the fourth on the strength of a 16-0 run.

According to Hollowell the key was getting out in transition. Early in the game Hamilton Southeastern threw a box-and-one at Hollowell which seemed to frustrate him and the Lawrence Central offense.

"We tried to push the ball more before they could set up their defense," Hollowell explained. "We wanted to run because we knew they had a couple of games back-to-back. We tried to use that to our advantage and get up and down."

With his team in deep trouble, Harris did everything he could in the fourth to help the rally including a steal and dunk as well as knocking in threes, including one from half court at the buzzer, but in the end it wasn't enough.

"It was a great atmosphere," said Harris. A lot of people came out. We were up early and all the way into the fourth quarter, and then they put on a big run and we couldn't come back in time."

The final score read Lawrence Central 70 and Hamilton Southeastern 68.

Individually Harris was the game's leading scorer with 26 points on 9-20 shooting, including 3-8 from three point range. Hollowell led Lawrence Central with 16 points of his own on 7-16 shooting.

While Lawrence Central and Hollowell got the win, for many around the state it was an interesting battle between arguably the two most talented prospects in Indiana's 2012 class. This battle will play out several more times during their careers, and one thing is for sure, both players will be looking forward to it.

"You want to play against guys like Jeremy and Ronnie (Johnson)," said Harris. "We all see each other and talk to each other about who beat who and who outplayed who. It is just about bragging rights. We are all competitors and we all try to beat each other."

For now Harris and Hollowell can only hope to meet with a trip to the state final four on the line, but until then the two will make sure to get their jabs in talking about who beat who and who scored more.

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