BILLINGS — The two-headed attack of Darcy Merchant and Kyler Northrop helped the No. 4 Billings Central boys basketball team to a 59-50 home win over No. 3 Lockwood on Tuesday night.
Merchant scored 19 points and Northrop added 17, as the Rams got a piece of revenge on Lockwood, which knocked off Central just 17 days ago, 62-51.
"I give kids freedom to take shots. They learn quick if it's a good shot for them and the team," Billings Central head coach Jim Stergar said. "Shooting the basketball is not an equal opportunity. When we've got guys like (Northrop) and (Merchant), they need to take more shots than anybody else. That's the way basketball works. There's other roles — we can't win without certain dirty work guys. If you don't have those guys, we don't win. Their roles on the team, they learn quick who should be shooting the ball, passing the ball and setting screens. It's still late January and we're inching closer to knowing exactly that role, but give us some time and hopefully we can get to that point."
The Rams held a 31-27 lead at halftime and extended it to 49-39 after three quarters. Lockwood struggled to find a consistent rhythm offensively, something Stergar was quick to praise following the win.
"I just finished telling them when everybody buys in and plays defense, really good things are going to happen. We practice so well. If someone were to watch us practice they'd say, 'Oh my gosh, you guys get after it,'" Stergar said.
Zicciah Callison-Blake led Lockwood with 19 points and Tyce Casterline added 12.
With the win Central improves to 10-1 on the season and drops Lockwood to 8-3.