Northern gets in gear to roll past Riverside
The scoreboard didn’t lie at the end of the first period: Riverside led PAC-6 power Northern 20-10 as an upset brewed Monday night.
But before you could say snow-makeup game, the Knights got back in it. Northern then continued to wear down the Pirates with its frenetic pace to score a 68-51 road victory.
Kentrell Barkley and Ricky Council II led a balanced Northern attack with 13 points apiece, while Jaquan Harris scored 12 and Timothy Crutchfield added 10 for the Knights (18-2, 5-1 PAC-6).
Riverside (10-10, 2-4) raced to a 20-10 lead in the first period, hitting seven of its 12 shots.
“They came at us pretty hard, and we didn’t respond well,” Northern coach Ronnie Russell said. “Everybody’s going to come at us that way, and that’s one of the things I’ve had to tell them. We’ve got to respond a little better than how we responded.”
The Knights did respond with a burst in the second period, one Pirates coach Brian Strickland expected.
“We were pleased with how we came out,” Strickland said. “It’s been a couple games where we were able to come out with the intensity we wanted. We knew Northern’s a good team and they’d make their run, and they made it on us.”
Crutchfield hit a 3-pointer and a driving basket, while Harris had a three-point play and fastbreak bucket, with Council completing a quick 12-4 run with a fastbreak dunk with 5:43 left in the first half.
“We weren’t executing well in the first quarter,” Russell said. “We got back to doing things we’re capable of doing, and that helped us a lot.”
Riverside didn’t go away, though, and trailed 35-32 at halftime.
“I was proud of how our guys held tough in the first half,” Strickland said. “We weren’t able to hang on to it in the second half, though.”
Up 37-35, Northern went on a 12-0 spree at the start of the third and then put the game out of reach with a 10-0 burst into the fourth quarter. The difference?
“Defense,” Russell said. “We didn’t start out getting after the ball like we should have. We started getting after the ball, getting on the boards and pushing it. That made the difference.”
Riverside managed only two field goals in the third period, turning the ball over four times.
“They pressured the ball really well tonight, and they made it difficult,” Strickland said. “They got out in the passing lanes pretty good, especially in the third quarter, and it rattled us a little bit.”
Back-to-back 3s by Harris and Council to start the fourth gave Northern its biggest lead, 60-39, allowing the Knights to coast into Tuesday’s matchup with East Chapel Hill.
Tied with Jordan atop the PAC-6, Russell knows the road won’t be easy.
“In our conference, anybody can beat anybody,” Russell said. “Everybody’s going to come at us and Jordan hard because we’re sitting up there. We’ve got to be prepared to play every night.
“Our defense can transfer to our offense — if we play defense well. Hopefully, we’ll get better at what we’re doing.”
Northern 68, Riverside 51
Northern |10 |25 |19 |14 — 68
Riverside |20 |12 |7 |12 — 51
NORTHERN — Ricky Council 13, Kentrell Barkley 13, Jaquan Harris 12, Timothy Crutchfield 10, Avion Jordan 6, Emmitt Tilley 4, Tahj Small 4, Timothy Bell 4, Jamal Goodlow 2.
RIVERSISDE —Markeise Crutchfield 12, Dexter McCrae 9, Joey Cabrera 9, C.J. Carpenter 8, Eric Peaks 7, Michael Hodge 2, Terrence Suitt 2, Justin Johnson 2.
3-point goals — Northern 4 (Crutchfield 2, Harris 1, Council 1), Riverside 1 (McCrae 1). Total fouls–Northern 19, Riverside 18.
Records — Northern 18-2, 5-1 PAC-6; Riverside 10-10, 2-4.
Riverside 49, Northern 38
Northern |5 |17 |8 |8 — 38
Riverside |10 |12 |13 |14 — 49
NORTHERN — Rhianna Council 24, Kolby Snipes 5, Megan Pleasants 4, Andrea Graham 3, Aquira McIntyre 2.
RIVERSIDE — Kiara Jacobs 13, Mone’ Jones 12, Atlanta Woodall 12, Yakima Clifton 7, Andrea-Anna Poole 5.
3-point goals–Northern 5 (Council 4, Graham 1), Riverside 5 (Woodall 2, Poole 1, Jones 1, Clifton 1). Total fouls–Northern 6, Riverside 12.
Records–Riverside 13-5, 5-1.