TOWN AND COUNTRY • The new and improved Hazelwood Central basketball team scored another significant victory on Wednesday at CBC.
Junior forward Jordan Martin, in just his third game back with the team after missing the first semester, had 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to help the visiting Hawks beat the Cadets 62-60 in a non-conference contest.
"It's great to be back," Martin said.
Unranked Hazelwood Central (9-4) has now won five straight games since the start of the new year, following back-to-back losses at the Meramec Holiday Festival High School Basketball Tournament.
Martin, a 6-foot-8 post player who has early Division I scholarship offers, makes the Hawks a deeper and more talented team that figures to be dangerous the rest of the season.
"He played well tonight," said Hazelwood Central coach Josh Martin (no relation). "He's starting to get a feel for it. It's only his third game. He did a lot of good things for us."
The Hawks got a team-high 16 points from senior swingman Marcus Lampley and 11 points from senior forward B.J. McLaughlin. Junior forward Marcus Hinton scored seven of his nine points off the bench.
"We had to get back in the rhythm as a team," Jordan Martin said. "Practice can get you in a rhythm a little bit, but it's not like game time as in the hype-ness and the competitiveness of the game. I just had to get back in rhythm with the team."
The No. 8 team in the STLhighschoolsports.com large-schools rankings, CBC (12-6) was without starting forward Robert Hamilton (illness) on Wednesday but had other players step up in his absence.
CBC, which had beaten Hazelwood Central in three out of four games the past three seasons, lost for the first time in four games despite strong efforts from three sophomores and its senior point guard.
The Cadets got a game-high 23 points from sophomore guard Patrick McCaw, 13 points from sophomore forward Jordan Barnett and a key 11 points from sophomore guard Tyris Lockhart. Senior point guard Jared Barnes had nine assists to go along with six points.
After trailing 17-15 after one quarter, CBC led 33-28 at halftime and 45-43 after three quarters. The score was tied, 52-52, with 5 minutes remaining when Hazelwood Central took control.
The Hawks scored nine consecutive points, including five from Hinton, to break open the tight game and take the biggest lead of the night.
CBC answered with six straight points from McCaw to cut the deficit to three in the final minute, and after a Central free throw by Raynell Crossland, made it 62-60 with a basket from Zach Fischer with 2.7 seconds left.
After Hazelwood Central missed a free throw with 1.7 seconds remaining, a heave from beyond half court by Aarion Penton came up short at the buzzer.
The Hawks have upcoming games at Ritenour on Thursday and at Hazelwood East on Saturday before competing in the Ameritime Classic at Missouri Baptist next week. Central is seeded second, behind De Smet, in the eight-team field there.
"We're growing," Josh Martin said. "We're getting better. We have to continue to do that every day."