No. 1 South Wins Clash of the Titans

Bloomington - In case there was any doubts about the worthiness of Bloomington South as the No. 1 team in the state, Jordan Hulls and the Panthers answered those critics with a 73-67 win over Michigan's No. 1 team, Detroit Country Day, on Saturday....

Bloomington – In case there were any questions about Bloomington South's worthiness as the No. 1 team in the state or a top-five team nationally, Jordan Hulls and the Panthers answered them Saturday.

Hulls scored nine of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter to help the Panthers overcome an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit in a 73-67 win over previously unbeaten Detroit Country Day.

While South (19-0) headed into the game undefeated and unchallenged all season as well, there probably weren't many who expected their record to remain unblemished. After all, Detroit Country Day's starting frontline featured a trio of Division I prospects, including 6'8" Miami (Fla.) recruit Donnavan Kirk as well as 6'11" top-100 prospect DaShonte Riley. Off the bench, DCD had 6'10" sophomore Amire Williams, arguably the best big men of the bunch.

"I wasn't intimidated by their size, and I don't think we were intimidated," said Hulls. "But at first glance you think they're an all-star team or an NBA team."

Among those who might not have expected much of a game was the Detroit Country Day coaching staff as well, which didn't go through the same sort of pre-game routine as most do.

"They walked in and didn't even shoot before the JV game, and all teams shoot before the JV game," said sophomore Spencer Turner, who finished with 14 points. "I guess they thought they were too good to shoot. They walked in thinking that they were Goliath and we were David, and that's exactly what happened."

It was quickly apparent that South would be in the game for the long haul. Former Bloomington North star and DCD junior Ray McCallum scored five quick points to help his team to a quick 9-4 lead before South settled down. South would eventually rally and lead 19-16 at the end of the first quarter and 38-36 at halftime. Hulls led the way in the first half with 14 points, while his 5'10" backcourt mate Dee Davis added 10 more, scoring on a variety of acrobatic layups against the DCD front line.

But Detroit Country Day went on a third-quarter run and opened a 54-49 lead by the end of the quarter, and then extended that margin to eight, 57-49, before South rallied. Davis scored on a trio of layups to help the Panthers get back into the game, including one where he stole the ball from his former Bloomington North H.S. teammate McCallum in the backcourt to cut the margin to four.

"Coming up with that steal, that got us going and the crowd going," said Hulls. "Dee has done wonders for this team."

From there, the contest turned into a nailbiter. Hulls knocked down his third 3-pointer of the game and followed that up with a pair of free throws to give South a 62-61 lead. McCallum answered with an driving layup to reclaim the lead, but South's Erik Fromm answered with a layup to make it 64-63. After DCD tied it with a free throw, Hulls knocked down a 17-foot jumper in the final two minutes to put South back on top 66-64.

From there it was South's ability to make free throws that preserved the win. After South spread the court and whittled more than a minute off the clock, Spencer Turner knocked down a pair of free throws with :30.3 left to extend the lead to 68-64. After a DCD miss, Hulls made two more free throws to push the margin to six. Country Day's Jordan Dumars cut the margin in half with a 3-pointer with :11.9 left, but Turner put the game away by making the first of two free throws with 10.0 remaining.

"I think there were a lot of doubters out there," Hulls said. "They heard 6-11, 6-10, 6-8. But we're a good team too. I think we shocked a lot of people."

The win came in front of a sold out and raucous crowd of approximately 3,500, most of whom arrived more than an hour before the game. It was an atmosphere that Indiana high school basketball has long been known for, and one that players from other states sometimes find a bit foreign.

"One of their guys (Amire Williams) told me, ‘you guys all go crazy over here for basketball,'" said Turner. "And I said, ‘yeah, that's Indiana basketball for you.'"


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