Cardinal Newman put Hammond’s SCISA Region 1-3A championship celebration on hold with a 48-47 overtime win at the packed Skyhawks gym on Tuesday.
Hammond (19-4, 6-1) forced overtime with a late score off the offensive glass, but the Cardinals prevailed in overtime with the winning shot by Austin Ajukwa with three seconds to go. Ajukwa finished with 24 points.
CN coach David Ross said the defensive job by John Ragan on Hammond star Seventh Woods was key to the victory. Woods managed just eight points in regulation, finishing with 14.
Hammond can clinch its fdirst outright region championship since 2008 with a win Friday at Augusta Christian. The Lions, however, have been a tough foe. The Skyhawks escaped with a 68-66 decision in the first meeting at home on Jan. 22. AC upset Cardinal Newman on the road last Friday.
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Cardinal Newman (13-10, 5-2) closes out the region campaign on Friday at home against last-place Ben Lippen, which is out of the SCISA state playoff running.
If Hammond and Cardinal Newman finish in a tie for first-place, a playoff game for the region's No. 1 playoff seed is a possibility sometime next week.
In other SCISA news, Heathwood Hall concluded region play on Tuesday with a sweep of Ben Lippen.
The Highlander girls (17-7, 8-0) crushed the Falcons 72-25, while the boys (10-11, 3-5) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 54-39 triumph. Erin Ress pumped in a career high 25 points for the Heathwood girls.