Jerret Smith, Romulus On Taking On Lawrence North

Hinkle Field house, on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, was a big night for high school basketball this past week. It was the challenge of champions and a very much anticipated game between the Wildcats of Indianapolis Lawrence North vs. the Eagles of Romulus, Mich.<br><br> Lawrence North is led by 7'0 junior, <b>Greg Oden</b> considered by many to be the top high school prospect in the country.<br><br> Romulus was led by '06 Michigan commitment <b>Jerret Smith

Lawrence North is led by 7'0 junior, Greg Oden considered by many to be the top high school prospect in the country and Mike Conley, whose dad is Mike Conley, an Olympic triple jumper in 1984 and 1988. Mike Conley could not play in this game because he had turf toe.

Romulus is led by Jerret Smith, who was really looking forward to this game.  As Smith slapped hands with people on his way to the locker room to get dressed he said, "It's Showtime". Looking at the faces of the Romulus team they seemed ready to play with their game faces on. Romulus Assistant Coaches Steve Glenn and Josh Baker and Head Coach Nat Oats were suited up and ready with their navy blue suits on and shoes shining. Coach Nat Oats even pulled out the cuff links for this one, Frank Sinatra style.

The 1st quarter was fast paced as the teams went up and down the floor. For Romulus, Jason Gibson had a big 1st quarter with 7 points, Avery Stephenson slashed his way for 5 points. For Lawrence North, Brandon McPherson who was filling in for Mike Conley had a very good 1st Quarter with 7 points. Western Michigan Signee Donald Cloutier chipped in 4 points as did Greg Oden. Romulus was playing some solid defense in denying Oden the ball, as Coach Oats had instructed them to do, and the quarter ended with Lawrence North ahead 22-21.

The start of the 2nd quarter was tough for Romulus as Lawrence North went on a 15-2 run stretching their lead to 37-23. Jerret Smith ended that run with his first points of the night at the 3:00 mark of the second half. Then Greg Oden started to pick it up with two dunks scoring eight in the quarter and 12 in the 1st half.  Romulus also had problems with their transition defense. Then Romulus' Dante Williams picked up his scoring with eight in the quarter and ended up with 12 in the half to help cut the deficit to 41-33. As Jerret would tell GBW later, "We thought we were still in the game and had a shot to win going in at halftime."

In the 3rd quarter Coach Jack Keefer had Lawrence North come out in a 3-2 zone, and Romulus turned the ball over twice in a row as Lawrence North went on a 14- 5 run to go up 55-37 Coach Oats said after the game, "They executed well and with the 3-2 zone part of that was my fault; I should have called timeout and adjusted to it sooner." Dante Williams was trying to keep Romulus in the game but he needed a little more help as Lawrence North took a 67-50 lead.

In the 4th quarter Lawrence North went on another run and outscored Romulus 7-0 to take the lead up to 74-50. The rout was on.

What did in the Eagles was poor defense, particularly transition defense, giving up wide open shots and allowing Lawrence North to go on huge runs in the beginning of the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

Even though Romulus was down Dante Williams was outstanding, ending the game with 28 points 5 rebounds 4 assist and 7 steals. But Lawrence North out rebounded Romulus 40-28 and shot 58.2% from the field and shot 10 more free throws then the Eagles.

Lawrence North had 4 players in double figures led by Greg Odem with 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Jerret Smith didn't play well, ending up with 11, and had tough criticism for himself afterwards. "It was not what I expected it to be," he said. "It was not acceptable the way I played. If I would have played half of the way I should have played we would have won".

When asked where his team goes from here Jerret said, "We just need to take it one game at a time. It is not like we are kicked out of the tournament or anything, we just have to learn from this loss and move on we must stick together and play as a team."

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