Late Foul Leads to Natomas Win in Hoops Rivalry Game

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THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Sometimes it’s a shame a game has to end.

Inderkum and Natomas High School boys basketball teams played a tooth-and-nail game which came down to the final seconds before a foul call against the Tigers gave Nighthawks senior Artrell Smith a chance to seal a win with one second left on the clock.

Smith made the first free throw and Natomas High came away with a 64-63 win at Inderkum Friday night.

The final foul could prove to be a deciding factor in the Tri-County Conference basketball standings with just a month left in the regular season.

Nighthawks (10-8 overall, 4-1 TCC) freshman Mekhi Williams made two free throws with 22.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 63-63.

On the ensuing possession, Terrence White and LD Dhaliwal’s miscommunication led to a turnover, giving Natomas High possession, just 6.3 seconds from what could have, or, should have been overtime.

Hudson appeared to make a clean swipe at the ball, but was called for the foul.

“I can’t say whether it was a foul or not,” Inderkum coach Rodney Haymer said. “I wouldn’t make that call. But it is what it is. The ball just didn’t bounce our way.”

In the visiting locker room, the same sentiment was uttered from Natomas High coach Brian Hamilton.

“It’s devastating for Inderkum, of course,” Hamilton said. “I really don’t like the referees deciding the game. But that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes. We just happen to be on the right side.”

The final quarter of the game was a tight, back-and-forth battle in front of a standing-room-only crowd and probably the most festive duel in the history of the neighborhood rivalry.

Thanks to White’s 22 points, and an NBA-distance three-pointer midway through the final stanza, Inderkum led 53-51.

The match up of the old (point) guard in White and the new guard in Williams became the focal point down the stretch with the youthful Williams going shot for shot with Inderkum’s all-time leading scorer.

Williams led all scorers with 26 points. The freshmen scored 14 of Natomas’ final 15 points in the final 5:30 of the game, and said going up against White, the reigning TCC MVP White, was a challenge he craved.

“I love to compete with him. He’s a great competitor,” Williams said of White. “All I was doing was competing and trying to win the game.”

Hamilton felt the same way about his rising star.

“With Mekhi, it’s just about trying to keep him focused and staying in the moment,” Hamilton said.

The win for the Nighthawks, coupled with Yuba City High School’s 63-59 loss to River Valley High School puts Natomas and Yuba City in a tie for first place in the TCC. Yuba City beat Natomas on Wednesday 65-56.

“We wanted to bounce back because we knew this was crucial to (stay in the hunt) for the league championship,” Hamilton said.

Phillip Morgan chipped in with 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Nighthawks, and Dhaliwal scored 11 for the Tigers.

Prior to tip off, Terrence White was honored with a commemorative basketball for being he all-time leading scorer in Inderkum school history. White has eclipsed the former Tyler Monroe’s 1,157 high mark with 1,180 points to date for the Tigers.

“He has the heart of a champion,” Haymer said. “He is the ultimate competitor. What else can you ask of your point guard?”

Girls Basketball – Inderkum 66, Natomas 25

Anthina McCaskel, Kyliyah Daniel and Sanniyah Pippins all scored in double figures as Inderkum girls remained undefeated in the TCC with a 66-25 win over Natomas Friday.

McCaskel led all scorers with 13 points as Daniel scored 10 points to go along with 10 rebounds and Pippin scored 10. Eleven Tigers players scored.

Inderkum (11-10, 5-0) remains atop the league standings with the fifth blowout win in as many games in league play. The Tigers have outscored all five of the other TCC teams 332-163 after starting the season 0-6 against some of the top teams in the Sacramento region.

“Since I put that schedule down, I keep looking at it saying, ‘What was I thinking?,’” Inderkum coach Phillip Hampton said. “But, the onset of that is the girls realize the difference in the level of play and we are playing teams more our size. We are realizing that now we get to be the enforcers.

“All those lumps we took were opportunities learned. Everyone was looking at our record thinking we weren’t the team to beat and we got to fly under the radar. Now we are putting hands on people, and the proof is in the pudding.”

Sophomore point guard Shymir Mitschan-Baldwin collected seven steals against Natomas High and received high praises from her coach.

“Shymir has stepped up so well this season,” Hampton said. “She is emerging to become a vocal leader.”

Halle Hamre led Natomas (4-16, 0-5) with 10 points and Aliyah Thomas chipped in with five points.

Contact Trevor Horn at [email protected] and on Twitter @trevhorn.

Photos by Jeremiah McWright, NHS intern

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