FISHERS, Ind. -- Jack Keefer doesn't necessarily like coaching against his longtime assistant, Joe Leonard. In fact, it's the game on the schedule he looks forward to the least.
But the veteran Lawrence North basketball coach wasn't exactly going to give back his team's 68-49 road win over Fishers on Friday night, either.
"I thought this year we'd get him," said Leonard, who spent 15 years coaching under Keefer before coming to Fishers six years ago. "If they continue to play like that, they are going to give some folks trouble."
Keefer told Leonard in the handshake line after the game that this may have been his team's best game of the season. Purdue recruit Basil Smotherman led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds as the Wildcats (11-3) broke open a close game in the fourth quarter.
John McCloud had 13 points and nine rebounds and Sean Howard added 12 points for Lawrence North, which had six dunks.
"They like each other, have fun and are very unselfish," Keefer said of his team. "They kept giving up that ball to somebody else, even when it looked like it might be a pretty good shot. That's how this team has been."
Fishers (10-5) came in as one of the hottest teams in the area, winning five in a row and eight of its previous nine. Leonard said Lawrence North was the first team during that stretch able to keep the Tigers from getting out in transition.
Evansville recruit Jaylon Brown led Fishers with 17 points, but it came on 7-for-19 shooting. Junior Devin Chaudion added 15 points, including 10 in the first half.
"We hit 11 3s against Zionsville and we hit two tonight," Leonard said. "Water finds its level and it sure found us tonight. That's the best we've been stopped all year."
Lawrence North hurt itself with nine first-half turnovers but managed a 25-23 halftime lead. It was still a one-point game midway through the third quarter when Smotherman hit a 3-pointer to start a 10-3 run. Fishers never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
"They like to run and never stop running," Smotherman said of Fishers. "But we were able to kind of take that away and not let them get going. We showed some patience on offense and took good shots."
Keefer said there is a different vibe to this year's team, a chemistry that is difficult to bottle. Winning Sectional 10 will be a difficult task with teams like Tech, Cathedral and Warren Central in the mix, but the Wildcats will be a tough out in March.
Lawrence North hasn't won a sectional in four years, its longest stretch without one since 1984.
"We've got to get everybody going full throttle every game," Francis said. "We know we've got a good team. We just have to play that way all the time."
Leonard said his team can learn from Friday's loss.
"I told our guys, 'That's how quickly it can all end if we play like that in the sectional,' " he said. "But we're still building for that. We'll go back to work."