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Matt Johnson

Balanced Hammond boys basketball knocks off Centennial, 71-57

Balanced Hammond boys basketball knocks off Centennial, 71-57

In the early stages of the third quarter Wednesday, following a lay-up by Centennial’s EJ Fowler that trimmed Hammond’s lead to two, Golden Bear’s coach Mike Salapata called timeout and kept his message super simple.

“I literally didn’t mention anything about Xs and Os. It was just flat out play with effort, play hard and have some fun,” Salapata said. “We weren’t having any fun, almost standing around at times, and I told them just go out there and play. Sometimes you just have to remind them about that.”

The Hammond players heeded their coaches words, responding with a 12-3 run on the way to a double-digit lead that...

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