In the game that everyone has been eagerly anticipating all year, Lake Norman Christian traveled to Lincolnton to take on Combine Academy on Tuesday night. With two of the top rated sophomores in the nation, the basketball community wanted to see Mikey Williams vs Robert Dillingham. While these two young prospects were the headline, each team was filled with several talented players and coaches who are doing a tremendous job with their teams.

The first quarter started with Trey Green knocking down a tough turnaround pull-up two from the top of the key to put Lake Norman Christian on the board first. On the defensive end, both teams were locked in and forcing tough shots. Midway through the quarter, Robert Dillingham found Patrick Wessler for the floater in the middle of the lane, and Combine tied the game up at 7-7. After the media timeout, Combine was able to go on a 10-3 run, taking a 17-10 lead. Before the end of the quarter, Trey Green drilled another tough pull-up jumper, this time from three to cut the deficit to 17-13.

In the second quarter, we saw Mikey Williams check into the game. He immediately made his presence felt as he knocked down a midrange pull-up jumper along the baseline, drawing the foul and connecting on the free throw. The next possession down, Jonathan Kurtas finished the put-back, and Lake Norman Christian was now on a 5-0 run and cut the deficit to 21-20.

But just as soon as Lake Norman Christian went on their run, Combine answered with an 8-0 run of their own fueled by the College of Charleston commit, Michael Dudley. Robert Dillingham found Dudley on the drive and kick three-pointer. Dudley then finished with a put-back of his own. And then got fouled on a drive and knocked down the two free throws. Antonio Hamlin also added a free throw in this run. Combine was now up 29-20.

Lake Norman Christian responded. Shane Fernald scored a basket to break the run. And again the duo of Mikey Williams and Trey Green made plays to keep them in the game. Green found Williams on the backdoor cut for the layup. Williams then drilled a pull-up three-pointer. The Army commit, AJ Allenspach, was also key in the first half play from Lake Norman Christian. Although he only had four points in the first half, he was getting it done on the defensive end and on the glass, snagging eight rebounds in the half.

Combine was able to withstand the Lake Norman Christian run and go into the half with the 40-35 lead.

In the third quarter, Combine was able to take control of the game, jumping out on an 8-2 run to start. Dillingham found Jacori Owens with the no look pass in transition. Later in the quarter, Omarion Bodrick came up with the play of the night. Lake Norman Christian was in transition and Trey Green throws the lob up to Mikey Williams for what everyone thought would be a highlight dunk. However, Omarion Bodrick hustles down the court for the chase down block on the lob. Unbelievable hustle play. AJ Smith then grabs the loose ball for Combine and goes coast-to-coast for the layup.

Sophomore Josh Bullock made back-to-back plays for Lake Norman Christian that helped cut back into the Combine lead. He knocked down the one dribble midrange pull-up and then on the next possession found Mikey Williams on the drive and kick three-pointer. Bullock played a great game finishing with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist.

Just as soon as it seemed like Lake Norman Christian was about to make a comeback, Combine answered. Catawba commit, Kris Robinson, made back to back assists. First, he created off the bounce, got into the lane, and found Omarion Bodrick on the drop-off for the dunk. Then in transition, Robinson found Michael Dudley for the cross court skip pass for the catch and shoot corner three.

And then the big man, Patrick Wessler had to get in on the action. He caught the ball on the right block, got to the midline, and connected on his patented left hook. Then a few possessions later, Wessler knocked down the face-up jumper off the right block, showcasing his skill set and touch. Combine finished the third quarter strong, extending the lead to 64-50.

To start the fourth quarter, Robert Dillingham started to get hot, scoring 11 of his 19 points in the fourth. He is so shifty with the ball in his hands and simply makes things happen, whether getting into the paint or knocking down tough jumpers. He started with a crafty right hand finish over length. Then he follows that up with a crafty dribble move to beat his defender and finish with the left hand at the rim. A few possessions later, he grabs the defensive rebound and pushes it up the court, and drills the midrange pull-up. We were all now witnessing the Robert Dillingham we’re accustomed to seeing. And then to top it off, he hits the defender with a between the legs, behind the back dribble combo off the ball screen and drills the three-pointer at the top of the key.

AJ Smith also made his presence felt in the fourth, scoring 6 of his 18 points and grabbing 4 of his 6 total rebounds. He was so aggressive getting to the basket and finishing at the rim. He attacked the offensive glass and created second chance scoring opportunities for himself and teammates.

Combine finished with a 90-70 win in a game that felt much closer than the final score indicated. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a rematch soon.

Final Stats – Combine
Robert Dillingham – 19 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds
AJ Smith – 18 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist
Michael Dudley – 15 points, 2 rebounds
Omarion Bodrick – 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steal
Kris Robinson – 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Patrick Wessler – 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal
Jacori Owens – 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block
Antonio Hamlin – 3 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 1block
Braylhan Thomas – 3 points
Joel Baucom – 3 points
Kennard Davis – 2 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound
Mekhi Grant – 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal

Final Stats – Lake Norman Christian
Mikey Williams – 24 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Trey Green – 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Josh Bullock – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist
Jonathan Kurtas – 7 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist
AJ Allenspach – 6 points, 10 rebounds
Shane Fernald – 5 points, 4 rebounds
Joyful Hawkins – 3 points, 4 rebounds