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Boys basketball: Senior Justin King leads Bowman past EC

Bowman's JustKing drives lane fast break misses shot but gets his own rebound puts it for 2 Bowman Academy February

Bowman's Justin King drives the lane on a fast break, misses the shot but gets his own rebound and puts it in for 2 at Bowman Academy on February 25, 2014. | Jim Karczewski\Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 27, 2014 6:51AM



GARY — It was a standing room only crowd — at least an hour before the game started. Parking was a crap shoot. The cramped Bowman lot, which wraps all the way around the school, was a maze of cars.

The VIPs were out in full force. Purdue coach Matt Painter was in the house, presumably checking out Hyron Edwards and Davon Dillard.

Both East Chicago and Bowman had plenty of fans.

It’s the perfect ending to the season for a couple of good programs.

Some high flying, fast-paced big-boy basketball before sectionals start.

Turns out, the Eagles know how to finish better than the Cardinals.

They took down East Chicago 86-71 Tuesday with a furious second-half push — one that left EC gasping for air at the end and perhaps wondering what it had got itself into.

It’s the sixth straight time EC has lost to Bowman. You could say the Eagles have the Cardinals’ number.

In the end, it was Justin King who cut EC’s heart out. He finished with 26 points and a bunch of rebounds before he left the game with 2:25 left after getting bumped in the knee.

He was fine after the game. Couldn’t be better.

Bowman coach Marvin Rea said that King wasn’t going to leave Bowman in his last game with his head hanging.

“He’s a senior,” he said. “He didn’t want to go out a loser.”

King more or less broke the game open in the third quarter with 11 points — seven of them coming at the free-throw line.

Trailing 39-33 with just under six minutes left in the third, Bowman went on a 9-0 run.

King scored six of those points — Arthur Haggard III started it with a 3-pointer. Four of King’s points came at the free-throw line, and two of them came after the East Chicago bench was called for a technical.

Those kinds of momentum bursts can prove deadly for Bowman opponents.

That was the crack of space the Eagles needed to kick the door down.

East Chicago tied the game one more time, after Damien Jefferson slammed the ball with 3:12 left in the quarter. That made it 49-49.

Again, a technical cost EC. Jefferson was called for one after hanging on the rim. Bowman scored eight of the next 11 points. That was a lead the Eagles never relinquished.

East Chicago, in a hurry to get back in the game, turned the ball over on its first four possessions and five of the first six in the fourth quarter.

Bowman pulled away convincingly in the final quarter.

King said it was a must game for him — especially after the sluggish first half.

“I couldn’t take losing,” he said. “Especially against EC.”

Brown said he was proud of the way his team competed.

It was really a tale of two halves for the Cardinals. The high point for them came when Jefferson hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half that gave them a six-point lead. That was as good as it would get for the Cardinals.



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