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NORCROSS (GA) – After going basket for basket with Norcross for nearly three quarters, Bishop O’Connell (VA) created just enough distance to outlast the hosts of the Peachtree Corners Invitational with a 63-58 win at Norcross High on January 21.
Junior Matt Becht made four 3-pointers on his way to 16 points and senior Matt Lewis, a James Madison commit, added 14 and eight rebounds for the Knights, who improved to 13-7.
“I thought we really did a good job of making good decisions on offense,” Bishop O’Connell coach Joe Wootten said. “We took the drives when they were there. When they collapsed we kicked it out and knocked down threes. So I thought we had a great balance of attack, knowing when to finish [at the rim] and when to kick it [out].”
After owning a slight lead for much of the third quarter, Bishop O’Connell stretched the margin out to 47-41, thanks to a jumper by Lewis and a 3-pointer from Becht in the closing moments of the frame.
With 6:15 left in the game, Becht nailed another 3 to extend the Knights’ lead to 52-44.
“Matt Becht always has a knack for getting open,” Wootten said. “Credit to Xavier Johnson and Matt Lewis. They got in the paint and found him. I thought there were a couple shots early that he should have taken but he got more aggressive as the game went on.”
Bishop O’Connell maintained that distance despite a thunderous one-handed dunk by Louisville commit Lance Thomas (12 points, nine rebounds). But moments later, Providence commit Nate Watson (eight points) returned the favor with a putback dunk over the top of teammates and opponents for a 58-49 score.
The Blue Devils (16-5) scored the next six points to pull back within three but Watson converted an offensive rebound into a hook shot to rebuild the margin and the Knights went on to ice the game at the foul line.
Quentin Millora-Brown scored 12 points for Bishop O’Connell and Johnson finished with six assists and five steals.
Georgia commit Rayshaun Hammonds had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Kyle Sturdivant scored 10 for Norcross, which led by as many as six points in the first half.
“I thought our zone helped us neutralize Hammonds,” Wootten said. “They have a great team but he is obviously very special.”