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Ballard blows by Norcross late
by Andrew Force, Future150 (5:48 PM CT, Mon December 29, 2014)
Hammonds capable of vaulting Norcross to another title
Hammonds capable of vaulting Norcross to another title
Andrew Force
Andrew Force:

Future150 National Analyst. Covering High and Middle School basketball.

Nashville, TN (Future150) -- Senior Paul Schiavone needed just forty five seconds to become a hero.  Facing a talented, well-coached Norcross High School team, Schiavone nailed three straight triples in rapid succession.  His Ballard High team improved to 9-2 with a commanding second half, 83-69. 

Schiavone's outburst came in the final moments of the first half.  Trailing from the jump, Ballard clawed back within three points after his final bomb landed. 

"They were looking for me," said Schiavone of his third attempt.  "I knew that I was hot, so I was going to shoot it.  I love it when the team gets hyped.  It is fun when anybody is hitting like that."

Norcross committed 15 turnovers in the first half. 

Early in the second frame Ballard's guards surmounted Norcross for good.  Though Madison and Tim Cameron pridefully led their Blue Devils, it was not enough. 

Schiavone led all scorers with 25 points, while Ricky Madison (High Point signee) paced Norcross with 22 points and 11 rebounds.  Despite his excellent shooting touch, Schiavone will not play college basketball. 

"I am going to Kentucky for academics," said Schiavone.  "Business and Marketing."

Star power

Though they are stocked with many young players, Norcross clearly has a pantry full of college prospects.  Sophomore Rayshaun Hammonds demands the most attention.  Rated by some as a five-star hooper, Hammonds floats around the perimeter.  The 6'7" forward also routinely scores around the bucket.  Considering how light he is on his feet Hammonds could easily morph into a perimeter scorer. 

Oh my, Hammonds has amazing feet.  He closed out a guard in two steps.  Then, he denied the safety valve.  His instant deflection gave Norcross a steal, which Hammonds swiftly turned into a thirty-foot assist.  With his outside shooting slowly developing he can become a superstar basketball player…if he is not already.

Ballard might not have a surefire college star, but Jalen Perry is scoring more than 20 ppg this year.  Perry reports a University of Maryland-Eastern Shore offer. 

"I picked up Ball State interest at the Christmas tournament," said Perry.  "There are a couple of guys from Louisville (area) going to Ball State."

Center Trey Moses signed with Ball State last month.  Perry also has interest from North Carolina Central.

On to the next one

Norcross meets the loser of Mitchell (TN) and University Lab (LA) tomorrow afternoon at C.P.A.  Ballard gets the winner of Mitchell/University Lab as the Bruins aim for the inaugural Next Level Hoopfest Title.


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