Indiana Junior All-Stars sweep Kentucky in Greenfield

GREENFIELD, Ind.-- James Blackmon Jr. drilled a huge 3-point shot in overtime Friday night (June 7), leading the IndyStar.com Indiana Junior All-Stars boys to a 108-102 victory over Kentucky in the first round basketball home-and-home doubleheaders at Greenfield-Central High School.

Blackmon, a 6-2 guard who will play at Marion as a senior, poured in a game-high 27 points and Trevon Bluiett of Park Tudor chipped in 17 points as Indiana moved to 2-1 in the second year of the Junior series against Kentucky.

Earlier, Whitney Jennings of Logansport scored 23 points and Kellie Kirkhoff of Roncalli added 17 as the Indiana girls defeated Kentucky 79-67 to move to 3-0 in their series against the Bluegrass girls.
The Indiana Junior All-Stars will square off in another doubleheader against Kentucky on Saturday (June 8) at St. Xavier High School in Louisville. The girls' game begins at 5 p.m., and the boys' game will follow.

In the boys game Friday, Indiana rallied from a 71-60 deficit with just more than 10 minutes to go in regulation to pull out the decision in the game played in two 20-minute halves with a five-minute overtime.
Blackmon sank two free throws, Bluiett a fast-break layup and Blackmon hit a 3-pointer to get the Hoosiers back into the game, and Indiana finally took an 82-81 lead on a dunk by Fort Wayne Concordia's D.J. McCall off a steal and assist from Plymouth's Mack Mercer.

The teams went back and forth through the remainder of regulation before two Mercer free throws and 1-of-2 free throws by Tech's Trey Lyles gave the Hoosiers a 90-87 edge with 20.5 seconds to go in regulation. But Kelan Martin of Louisville Ballard countered with a 3-pointer from the right side with 7.8 seconds showing to tie the game at 90. Then a contested, long Blackmon 3-point attempt would not fall at the regulation buzzer.

Mercer began the extra period with a 3-pointer from the left wing, and Bluiett followed with a 10-footer from the left baseline after an offensive rebound. Kentucky's Martin responded with a 3-pointer and Indiana led by three when Blackmon buried a 3-point dagger for a 102-96 advantage with 1:26 to go.

Bluiett followed with a driving reverse layin with 47 seconds to go, then Frankton's Aaron Korn and Blackmon added layups over the final 35 seconds to seal the result.

Korn finished with 12 points, Greensburg's Bryant McIntosh chipped in 10 points and Mercer and McCall each contributed nine points to the Indiana effort.

Cris Cunningham of Lexington Henry Clay scored 20 points, Perry County Central's Justin Johnson tallied 18 points and Martin had 16 points to pace Kentucky. Trey Grundy of Lexington Henry Clay also reached double figures with 10 points.

In the girls' game, Kirkhoff and Jennings keyed an Indiana burst in the final moments of the first half as the Hoosiers seized control and never relinquished it.

Kirkhoff gave Indiana a lead at 38-36 on a fast-break layup off a feed from Fort Wayne Concordia's Courtney Smith with 1:17 to go, then Kirkhoff added a four-point play (made 3-pointer and free throw) off an assist from Columbus North's Tayler Goodall with 49.2 seconds left in the period. Jennings followed with a deep 3-pointer with about 10 seconds to go. Jennings then added a steal, was fouled and sank two free throws with 2.9 seconds left for a 10-point margin at intermission.

Kentucky made a brief comeback early in the second half, but Indiana responded with a burst capped by a 3-pointer by Warsaw's Nikki Grose for a 62-47 edge. The Bluegrass girls rallied one last time to cut its deficit to 66-56, but Jennings and Evansville Mater Dei's Maura Muensterman countered with consecutive layups and the outcome never was in doubt from there.

Muensterman and Grose each netted eight points, while Smith chipped in six points and Goodall contributed nine rebounds, five assists and three steals to go along with two points.

Eriel McKee of Anderson County scored 14 points and Ivy Brown of LaRue tallied 10 points to pace Kentucky.

Next week, the Indiana Junior All-Stars will play the Indiana Senior All-Stars in a pair of girl-boy doubleheaders -- at 6 p.m. Monday at Sullivan High School and at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Tipton High School.

The Indiana Senior All-Stars will face Kentucky in another set of doubleheaders -- at 5:30 p.m. June 14 at Freedom Hall in Louisville and at 5 p.m. June 15 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.


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