Yogi Ferrell, Juniors Beat Seniors in Sudden Death (Yes, really)

KOKOMO — If there’s a rulebook in the Western world that calls for sudden death overtime at any point in a basketball game, not many people know about it.

“Next-bucket-wins” might be declared on the playground when play-to-11, win-by two seems interminable, but no self-respecting league with a clock and a scoreboard or officials would ever go down that road.

But in an All-Star game in a sweltering gym with no air conditioning and back-to-back games looming for half of the game’s participants this weekend, apparently you can change the rules.

So it was at the Indiana Senior-Junior All-Star game Wednesday at Kokomo Memorial Gymnasium, and Indiana verbal commitment Yogi Ferrell took advantage. The Park Tudor junior point guard hit an off-balance running fadeaway on the first possession of sudden death to give the Juniors a 104-102 victory.

“I just thought, ‘We better make this shot, or we’re gonna lose,'” Ferrell said. “I just decided to take that last one there in the short corner, and I made it. … It felt good coming off my fingertips. When I looked at it, I knew it was going in.”

The juniors trailed the seniors by as many as 14 points in the first half, but continued to rally, and didn’t fold even when they fell behind 102-97 on two free throws by Warsaw’s Nic Moore with 16.4 seconds left.

On the next possession, Bowman Academy forward DeJuan Marrero, a one-time Indiana target, grabbed a rebound, put it back and drew a foul to cut the deficit to 102-97.

Marrero missed the free throw and Center Grove senior Andrew Smeathers grabbed the rebound and drew the foul with 7.3 seconds left. He missed both free throws however, and the Juniors sent the game to overtime on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from about 30 feet out by North Central’s D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera.

“I just tried to line it up to the basket,” Smith-Rivera said. “Just working on my range through the summer and stuff. Throughout the season, I’m trying to get up shots and stick to the NBA range. I just tried to line it up as well as I could.”

Because of the heat, officials decided on a one-minute overtime which basically ended up as one possession because there is no shot clock. The Juniors won the tip, Smith-Rivera held the ball at the top of the key until about the 10-second mark. He drove and drew a foul, but missed both free throws and the overtime ended without a score prompting the second overtime that ended in Ferrell’s bucket.

Ferrell finished with 16 points, five assists, four rebounds, two steals and — impressively for a 5-foot-10 point guard — two blocks in 27 minutes of action on a team busting with backcourt talent.

The most interesting subplot of the game for Indiana fans was the matchup on the low block between 2011 signee Cody Zeller and 2012 verbal commitment Hanner Perea. Zeller, this year’s Mr. Basketball, got the best of it statistically with 25 points, 21 rebounds, four blocks and two steals. He proved himself to be the most skilled of the two, and his motor once again stood out in an all-star game.

“Cody’s tall, he’s big and he’s athletic for his height,” Perea said. “He can shoot the ball, he can do anything. He’s very tough to guard. … I love playing against him. I played against him before in AAU practices. I like the way he plays. I know if I play against a player like that, I’m going to get much better learning stuff from him.”

But Perea had his moments as well. He was just 3-for-9 from the field for six points, but he had 15 rebounds and three blocks, showing off his considerable athleticism.He had one extremely impressive back-to-the-basket spin move to get past Zeller for a dunk.

“He’s definitely improving all aspects of his game,” Zeller said. “He’s been working on his post game, I can tell. He’s still super-athletic. He’s always going to have that, so I’m looking forward to playing with him.”

The rest of the IU commits had their ups and downs. Broad Ripple junior guard and 2012 verbal commitment Ron Patterson was 3-for-8 from the field for eight points, hitting two 3-pointers. Hamilton Heights senior Austin Etherington was 1-for-5 from the field, including 0-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc, finishing with just two points. He did have two assists and six rebounds, however.

IU target and Hamilton Southeastern guard Gary Harris had 15 points for the Juniors. Kokomo’s D.J. Balentine had a team-high 18 and Smith-Rivera added 16. Warsaw’s Nic Moore had 18 points and five assists for the seniors.

One comment

  1. Wow. Another underwhelming stat line from Etherington. Seems to be his M.O. Same with Perea, underwhelming from a scoring standpoint. If he is going to let Zeller dominate him, (not taking anything away from Zeller as he is big time) how is he going to hold up against other Big 10 big men with similar skills as Cody? I’m beginning to understand why Austin in unranked by the scouts. These two games and the upcoming all star games should be his and Cody’s time to shine. Cody appears to have done his part and is ready to continue this weekend. What will Austin do? My prediction: he’ll average 4 pts for the two games and a few boards. He’ll be a role player at IU next season. Maybe see some significant playing time his junior or senior year.

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