By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator
There was little doubt that the first game of the semifinals of the Greater NC Pro-Am tournament would have a lot of scoring, as Akeem Richmond and Hendrick of Durham sought to light up the scoreboard against NCCU sharpshooter Landon Clement and Team Dreamworks.
It did not take long for Richmond to start dropping buckets as he knocked down an early three, and later kept the defense honest by faking a perimeter shot and driving to the bucket for a lay-in. Richmond's play to begin the game boosted Hendrick of Durham to a nine point lead toward the end of the first quarter.
Clement struggled early from long range, but Corey Evans picked up the slack, scoring 16 points in the first half. Evans' success at converting on second chance opportunities was huge in keeping the game from getting out of hand in the first quarter and a half of play.
Although Evans was the leading scorer on the floor, Michael Deloach and Nick Chasten provided excellent play on the other end to hold a comfortable lead throughout the first half. Chasten's cross-over dribble and drive for a lay-up gave Hendrick of Durham a 17 point lead with under a minute to play in the half. The squad took a 48-31 lead into halftime.
Team Dreamworks came out gunning in the opening minutes of the second half. Clement's alley-oop to Evans off the inbounds pass sparked some offensive production from the team, with Clement later hitting a three to add on to Evans' scoring spree.
Down the stretch, Hendrick of Durham was just too tough to stop. The team scored five points in the last five seconds of the third quarter after VMI's Stanley Okoye hit a free throw to convert a three point play and Derrick Wiley stole the ensuing inbounds pass, drawing a foul that resulted in two successful free throw attempts. The 9-0 run to end the period led to a 23 point lead going into the final quarter.
Things only got uglier for Team Dreamworks at the beginning of the fourth period, as James Zimmerman and Wiley each hit baskets to build on what ultimately became a 14-0 run. Hendrick of Durham led by as much as 28, but Evans' 42 point performance eased the pain for Team Dreamworks.
E.J. Williams also stepped up in the fourth quarter for Team Dreamworks. His 10 fourth quarter points also made for an impressive individual showing, but it was not nearly enough to get his team back in the game. Hendrick of Durham ran away with the victory, 96-78.
Hendrick of Durham is set to face D1 Sports in the championship game at 4:30 PM, Sunday.