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Buchholz falls to IMG in overtime

Continue to 2nd paragraph "How tall are you?" one of them asked a player from IMG Academy who had just jogged onto the court for pregame warmups.

"I'm 6-10" was the response.

"I told you!" one Newberry player said to the other as they ran off. "I told you!"

The IMG player in question, Kenny Kadji, turned away, smiled and then sank his next six practice 3-point attempts.

The game? That didn't provide many laughs for the Gator signee, but after trailing most of the way, did provide a "whew."

That's because he and his IMG teammates (which included two other 6-10 players in Dwight Powell and Kyryl Natyashko) beat Buchholz, which has no player taller than
6-4, in overtime 49-45.

"Every time I put it down, I got triple-teamed," said Kadji, who finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and a steal. "(The Bobcats) kind of surprised me. They came really hard. I wasn't expecting that."

Buchholz (7-9) limited the Panthers (9-8) to just three points in the first quarter and at one point in the second quarter led 18-6.

But with many of the area's top players (including P.K. Yonge's Josh Snodgrass, Eastside's Dennis Mavin and the Gainesville combination of Greg Gantt and Anthony Nwadigo) in attendance, IMG gradually chipped away and tied the game at 20 entering the half.

Six different Bobcats then scored in the third quarter, as the Bobcats built a 40-32 lead.

However, similar to IMG in the first, Buchholz's offense went MIA in the fourth and the Bobcats were outscored 12-4. A short hook by Kadji with 1:33 remaining in regulation put the game into overtime.

There, Kadji made a layup and teammates Powell and Justin Duvarney made 3-of-6 foul shots to seal the win.

"This was our best rebounding effort of the season," said BHS coach Bob Horodyski, whose team was outrebounded just 33-26, despite the size differential. "The kids played hard, but there is no moral victory."

For his part, Kadji played all but about eight minutes of the contest and while quiet most of the way, threw down a dunk with less than a minute left in the first half that got the crowd excited.

Kadji said he enjoys playing in Gainesville and picked UF over Memphis, Kansas State, Connecticut and South Florida because of coach Billy Donovan, who wasn't in attendance Friday night.

"Everything the coach did with Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer made me want to be there," Kadji said.

Kadji added his favorite player of that two-time NCAA championship trio is Horford. At this point the 235-pound Kadji is a better long-range shooter than the Atlanta Hawks' rookie, but acknowledges he has a way to go to match Horford in the post.

"I love his power game," said Kadji, whose team will face 2007 FHSAA Class 3A runner-up P.K. Yonge tonight at approximately 7:30 p.m. in the final day of the Bobcat Shootout. "That's what I'm working for."

Newberry (7-6) snapped a two-game losing streak in the opener behind 15 points, eight rebounds and three steals from D'Angelo Thompson. Yusel Cardentey led Golden Gate (3-12) with 18 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and two assists.

The Bobcat Shootout will conclude today with four games, beginning at 3:30 p.m.  

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