After last Friday’s loss to the Carmel Greyhounds, the boys basketball has lost their number one spot in the Indiana Associated Press boys basketball rankings, and has dropped to number two. The team will be back in action Saturday evening, as they will play host to the Hamilton Southeastern Royals.
Hamilton Southeastern, led by Michigan State recruit Gary Harris and Michigan commit Zak Irvin, has started the season with a 4-0 record, including a 67-39 rout of the Mount Vernon Marauders, and a 70-53 victory over the Kellen Dunham led Pendleton Heights Arabians.
Gary Harris, a strong candidate for the “Indiana Mr. Basketball” award, has played strong this season, averaging 20.0 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, and 4.5 assists per game to lead Hamilton Southeastern. Harris is a 6’ 4” shooting guard who is ranked 10th amongst recruits in the country. Harris is a tough player, who excels in multiple sports, particularly football where he was the leading receiver for the Royals, and was also a top football recruit in Indiana before deciding to play basketball at Michigan State.
Junior Zak Irvin and senior Jacobby Bledsoe have also been very productive for the Royals, averaging 17.8 and 14.3 points of their own.
The Royals will play host the Zionsville Eagles Friday night before coming to North Central Saturday.
The major matchup expected for the game is the battle between Ronnie Johnson and Gary Harris. Johnson, like Harris, is one of Indiana’s frontrunners for the “Mr. Basketball” award. Johnson comes into the game averaging 24.2 points per game, and ranked 10th among players in the state of Indiana.
The game has been dubbed as one of the premier regular season matchups the 2011-2012 boys basketball season will have to show.
Saturday, December 17, the Panthers hosted the top ranked Hamilton Southeastern Royals. At the time the Panthers were ranked second, creating a match up of the top two teams in the state. In the previous game the Panthers lost to Carmel forfeiting their top rank in the state to Hamilton Southeastern.
The game featured four Big 10 recruits Zak Irvin (Michigan), Gary Harris (Michigan State) Patrick Ingram (Iowa) and Ronnie Johnson (Purdue).
Going into the game Gary Harris led the Royals averaging 20 points, seven rebounds, five steals and 4.5 assists coming into the game.
With a sellout crowd of 3,200 people, the Panthers and the Royals fought for the first half.
The Panthers held a 42-39 lead at halftime. The third quarter the Royals outscored the Panthers 26-19 to give the Royals a 65-58 lead going into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter the Panthers 11-20
Ronnie Johnson shot 53% from three point range shooting 7-13. Harris had 35 points shooting 50% from the field and 12-13 from free throw line.