The gymnasium at North High School became so full prior to tipoff on Friday night that late-arriving high-school basketball fans were turned away. Those that made it in time, though, were treated to a classic.
The Hoover boys’ basketball team beat North, 57-52, on Friday night. The game required three overtimes and was full of highlight-reel worthy action, big-time shots and plays that brought both fan bases to their feet.
“We just found a way to win,” Hoover coach Courtney Henderson said. “My hat goes off to North, man. They did a good job of taking us out of what we wanted to do at times.”
The game was almost the exact opposite of when the teams first met, back on Dec. 9. The Polar Bears (6-4) won that matchup, 65-61, after employing their style of play; an up-tempo, fast-paced attack that includes getting a lot of buckets.
Hoover (6-3) remembered that game well and made it a point on Friday to implement its own game; a hard-nosed, in-your-face, defensive style of play. That was much of what regulation consisted of, as both teams were tied at 34 after the first 32 minutes.
“They definitely controlled the style of play tonight,” North coach Chad Ryan said. “It was a Hoover-style game. But we battled, and it just came down to whoever made the last play was going to win.”
From then on, seemingly every play became a spark that ignited the North gymnasium. The first overtime ended with both teams tied at 37. Devonte Thedford scored a bucket and Aldreias Campbell Jr., added a free throw for Hoover. North countered with three Tyreke Locure free throws, forcing a second extra period.
Thedford, who finished with 12 points, continued to carry Hoover through the overtimes. He drove for another bucket to give the Huskies a 43-41 lead. Locure pulled up from deep on the ensuing possession, but missed. Marcus Edwards scored the rebound and was fouled.
Edwards sank both free throws to put Hoover up four with 13.8 seconds left. Locure went to the line on the next possession and sank one of his free throws. Hoover then turned it over, and Gatdoar Bijiek drilled a 3-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 45 and force a third overtime.
Back and forth they went, until Doug Wilson, who finished with 27 points, scored on a breakaway layup to give Hoover a 53-52 lead. He and Jasion Shade padded that lead with free throws down the stretch, securing the win while the Hoover fans went ballistic.
“In the end, Hoover made the last play,” Ryan said, “We battled. We learned a lot about our team. We like to play fast and score, but we can play a half-court, tough-nosed game and compete with anybody in the state.
“I’d say Hoover’s the best half-court team, at least in central Iowa.”
After the teams shook hands, Wilson raised his hands and smiled, pumping up the crowd as they filed out of the gym. Just outside the gym doors is a sign on the wall, which reads “Capacity 2800.”
On Friday night, it looked like that many and then some during the game, and those donning Hoover garb may not forget this one for a while.
“We were very, very fortunate to get the win tonight,” Henderson said. “It’s still early, and we have a lot of work to do, but this was a good conference win.”
Hoover (57) – Quinn 6, Thedford 12, Campbell Jr. 6, Sabastiano 2, Wilson 27, Edwards 3, Shade 2. Also played – Jefferson, Jackson, Collins. Totals: 13, 28-31.
North (52) – Locure 22, Deng 6, G. Bijiek 5, Malual 6, J. Bijiek 12, Myles 3. Also played – McCaleb, Cavan. Totals: 10, 30-37.
Hoover 57, North 52 (3OT)
Hoover 11 5 8 10 3 8 12 – 57
North 5 8 10 11 3 8 7 – 52
3-point field goals – Hoover 2 (Quinn 2), North 2 (Myles, Gatdoar). Fouls – Hoover 28, North 21. Fouled out – Myles, Quinn, Sabastiano. Technical Fouls – none.
Hoover girls get first win of the season over North
The Hoover girls’ basketball team secured its first win of the season in a 44-42 win over North on Friday night.
Hoover (1-8) led 24-18 at halftime and never relinquished that lead. The Polar Bears (2-9) outscored the Huskies in the final two quarters, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Madison Blackford led Hoover with 12 points while Hannah Blackford added another 11. Shamekia James led North with 16 while Nyadholi Deng added 12 behind a pair of 3-pointers.
Hoover (44) – H. Blackford 11, Bates 7, Dean 4, M. Blackford 12, Muhammad 4, McGregor 6. Also played – Larsen. Totals: 13, 8-16.
North (42) – Tuyishime 2, Gatluak 8, Deng 12, S. James 16, K. James 4. Also played – Sibley, Niyigena. Totals: 14, 9-16.
Hoover 44, North 42
Hoover 15 9 11 9 – 44
North 11 7 12 12 – 42
Cody Goodwin covers high school sports, college basketball recruiting and Drake athletics for the Des Moines Register. Reach him at (816) 582-0633, email him at email@example.com , or send him a tweet at @codygoodwin .