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MONROE—Adams Central stretched its winning streak to three games Friday night ousting county rival South Adams in boys varsity basketball by a 53-44 decision at the Hangar.
The Jets, now 10-6, were hoping to celebrate Dalton Combs' 1000th point of his stellar AC career Friday night, but when he fouled out with 5:15 to play in the final stanza, South Adams had held him to 12 points--all in the first half--and he is now four points short of the magic mark. He'll likely move into four digits for his career tonight as the Jets travel to Blackford.
The game was close throughout the night with the largest edge coming late in the game at 52-40 when Anthony Spangler hit a free throw with 1:18 left to play. There were eight lead changes and three ties in the first half but the player of the game for the Jets, Hayden Black, personally took the AC five from a 20-20 tie to a 29-20 lead as he scored nine straight points in the game. Two of his four baskets came directly off South Adams turnovers, he converted a traditional three-point play with 3:17 to go and finished with two charity tosses.
South Adams' Marco Vasquez answered for the Starfires hitting a basket and two freebies in the final minute to slice the edge to five at half, 29-24.
The game seemingly was turning in favor of the Starfires at the start of the third stanza.
Adams Central had the ball to start play and tried to set up Combs on a drive to the basket. He was called for a charge, his third foul of the night which negated two points. South Adams, which took only four shots in the second period (but made all four), continued its hot shooting knocking down their first four attempts of the third quarter as well, including back-to-back-to-back hoops by Vasquez and suddenly the game was knotted at 32-32.
Despite the run, however, South Adams was never able to take the lead again. The Jets went back to their second period star Black as he broke the SA momentum with two free throws. Alex Byerly nailed a three and was followed by consecutive deuces by Nick Baumer, one of which was courtesy of a nifty assist pass from Black. Just as quick as South Adams had come back to take the lead, the Jets were up again by nine at 41-32.
Leading SA scorer Chase Mosser (20 points) opened the final eight minutes of the contest with a trey for a 44-38 affair and with 5:39 to go Combs was called for his fourth foul going over-the-back on a rebound. Twenty-four seconds later, a frustrated Combs attempted to set a pick but clearly was not in position and he exited the game.
Instead of wringing their hands, the Jets picked up the pace of the game and held the Stars to just two points in the next four minutes while they put in eight. Highlighting the drive was an alert play by Byerly. South Adams was nearly guilty of an over and back call at midcourt but the resulting scramble found AC tipping it out to Byerly who outraced SA defenders for a lay-up and a 49-38 advantage.
A big defensive play with 1:18 left saw Blade Kable soundly reject a shot by Mosser who was attempting to drive to the basket. In frustration, Mosser was called for a foul while going after the loose ball.
AC coach Aaron McClure lavishly praised the effort of his team and in particular Black.
"Hayden had a great game for us tonight and really stepped up his play. It's the type of play we thought all along we could get out of him. And he did it at both ends of the floor. Fourteen points (the leading AC scorer), seven steals, five rebounds, and three assists. A really, really strong game from him."