Amari Hamilton's 45 leads Southern past Hillside in 2OT thriller

Jan. 25, 2014 @ 10:53 PM

“Relax.”

Maybe it’s a strange attitude to take into what ended up being a double-overtime intra-city rivalry game. But it’s what Southern boys basketball coach Kendrick Hall said to guard Amari Hamilton before he scored 45 points en route to an 89-85 victory at Hillside on Saturday night.

“I told him today that this was a game where he can relax,” Hall said of his pre-game advice to Hamilton. “He’s like many shooters. They can put too much pressure on themselves if they’re in a slump. I told him to relax and find a rhythm.

“It was a team effort, finding him as he was hot.”

Hillside dominated Southern in the girls’ half of the doubleheader, 99-72. Star Justine Lyon scored 24 points and teammates Tykyrah Williams, Elisia Grissett and Zuri White scored 16 apiece to offset 35 points from Southern’s Bryanna Staton.

Alexis Jorner added 19 for the Spartans.

For much of the fourth quarter and overtime periods of the nightcap, it was a duel between all-star point guards in Hamilton and Hillside’s Justice Kithcart.

At the end of regulation, Hamilton’s free throw tied the game at 67-67 apiece. Hillside had the ball with 1:10 left in the regulation and chose to play for the last shot, draining the clock to 10 seconds before taking a timeout.

But Kithcart couldn’t get a shot off as time expired.

The teams essentially traded blows in the first overtime period.

Kitchcart’s and-1 play gave the Hornets a two-point lead. But Hamilton answered with two shots from the charity stripe to tie the game at 77-77 and force the second overtime.

Hamilton absolutely took over in the overtime periods. He went 9 of 10 from the free throw line in the extra periods (18 for 21 overall), and scored four total field goals, including one three pointer for a total of 18 overtime points (he scored 27 in regulation).

Hamilton’s biggest play of the game came with 1:15 remaining in the second overtime. The senior, playing last game against Hillside, sank a three pointer to give the Spartans a five-point lead.

Kithcart made a layup with 42 seconds remaining to pull the Hornets to within three. However, it was too little too late.

“It’s always good to win against a city rival,” Hall said.

“When you win a game like that in double overtime, it says a lot about both teams and their fans,” said Hall of the capacity crowd at Hillside’s “The Hornets Nest” gymnasium. “Our fans who came out tonight were great, it makes it a lot of fun for our guys to play and for me to coach when we have their support.”

NOTE — With Southern reclassified this season to the 3-A ranks and moved from the PAC-6 4-A to the Big Eight 3-A Conference, the Spartans can no longer look forward to a possible conference tournament meeting with rival Hillside, which remains a PAC-6 member. ... Hillside won the other meeting of the two rivals 73-68 on the road Dec. 13.

SOUTHERN 89, HILLSIDE 85, 2OT

(Boys’ Game)

Southern 15     17     21     14     10     12 — 89

Hillside 17     13     14     25     10     8 — 85


SOUTHERN — Amari Hamilton 45, Kendall Hinton 10, Rashad Dixon 8, Marvin Tillman 7, Greg Washington 8, Orlandis Patterson 5, Ben Johnson 4.

HILLSIDE —Justice Kithcart 24, Malik Evans 22, Robert Robinson 16, Jarrod France 10, Timothy Mangum 8, Jalen McGee 3, Marcus Bowling 3, Lashone McCrea 2, Oderah Udemadu 2, Trevion Thompson 1.

Rebounds — Southern 29 (Tillman 7, Dixon 7, Washington 6, Patterson 3, Hamilton 2, Hinton 2, Johnson 2). Hillside 24 (Bowling 4, McGee 4, Udemadu 3, Robinson 3, Mangum 3, Evans 2, Kithcart 1, France 1, McCrea 1, Thompson 1).

Records — Southern 9-8, Hillside 8-7.

HILLSIDE 99, SOUTHERN 72

(Girls’ Game)

Southern     14     19     19     20 — 72

Hillside     15     30     30     24 — 99


SOUTHERN — Justine Lyon 34, Tykyrah Williams 16, Elisia Grissett 16, Zuri White 16, Mya Webb 5, Jakelei Lewis 4, Victoria Powell 3, Khara Herring 2, Brittany Powell 2, Amanda Lawrence 2, Kirsten Smith 2.

HILLSIDE — Bryanna Staton 35, Alexis Jorner 19, Jessica Grant 6, Addis Lemmons 6, Zaysha Tyson 4, Jazmine Billings 3.

Records — Southern 7-9, Hillside 11-5.