Northern puts away Hillside in PAC-6 showdown
What started out as a see-saw battle turned into a double-digit win for Northern, but scrappy Hillside kept the Knights hustling from start to finish Friday night at Northern.
The lead changed hands 12 times before Northern’s Kentrell Barkley hit a jump shot, was fouled on the play and converted the free throw for a 27-24 Northern lead at 3:58 of the second period. The Knights led the rest of the game, by as many as 14 points, before winning it 88-77.
Barkley was one of three Northern players, and five overall, to score 20 or more points during the rapid-fire game, which ended with a blistering 33-31 fourth period edge for the Knights.
Ricky Council II led Northern with 26, followed by Barkley with 24 and Jaquan Harris with 20.
Hillside’s Justice Kithcart led all scorers with 29. Teammate Malik Evans pumped in another 23 for the Hornets.
“I thought we finished well, a whole lot of boards at the end. They gave us a run for our money,” said Northern coach Ronnie Russell. But overall, he conceded, his team did not establish rebounding dominance.
“I don’t think we did real well on the boards. KB (Barkley) did real well on the boards — 14 rebounds and 7 assists,” Russell said.
He credited the Hornets with playing a strong game under the glass, especially Evans.
“He’s not real big, but he’s pretty persistent,” Russell said.
“It took us a while to get in the flow of the game. Most of it was because of the pressure they were putting on us,” Russell said.
Northern’s defense was tenacious, plucking the ball from the hands of the Hornets or intercepting their passes on numerous occasions, while Council and Barkley had a slam-fest.
At 4:13 of the first period Barkley rejected a shot by Kithcart and passed it to Council, who went end-to-end for a layup.
Barkley took a pass from Emmett Tilley at :36 of the first period and jammed it home. He slam-dunked another after T.J. Crutchfield stole the ball and dished off to him at 2:08 of the second period.
Council slammed home three dunks — at 6:11 of the first period, off his own steal at 3:37 of the second period, and off a steal and pass by Barkley with 15 seconds remaining in the third period.
The Knights were able to pass inside for numerous scores, often on multiple passes timed to perfection and hitting the man cutting inside or out.
“That’s why we finished so well, passing the ball and distributing,” Russell said. “That’s one of our strengths.”
Hillside had some big defensive plays as well.
On back-to-back Northern possessions midway through the third period Evans blocked a shot by Barkley and Robert Robinson Jr. blocked a shot by Council, setting up a 3-pointer by Hillside’s Jarrod France. That narrowed the lead to 48-44 at 2:33, the closest the Hornets would get the rest of the game.
Northern 88, Hillside 77
Hillside 17 13 16 31 — 77
Northern 19 19 17 33 — 88
HILLSIDE — Justice Kithcart 29, Malik Evans 23, Robert Robinson Jr. 11, Jarrod France 8, Trevion Thompson 6.
NORTHERN — Ricky Council II 26, Kentrell Barkley 24, Jaquan Harris 20, Dillon Leovic 8, T.J. Crutchfield 7, Emmett Tilley 3.
Records—Hillside 10-10, 3-5 PAC-6 4-A; Northern 20-2, 7-1 PAC-6.
Hillside 74, Northern 45
Hillside 28 19 16 11 — 74
Northern 10 18 6 11 — 45
HILLSIDE — Zuri White 18 (5 rebounds), Elisia Grissett 13 (3 assists), Mya Webb 10, Tykyrah Williams 8 (3 assists), Justine Lyon 8, Jakelbi Lewis 6 (6 assists), Amanda Lawrence 5 (6 rebounds), Khara Herring 4, Kirsten Smith 2.
NORTHERN — Rhianna Council 18 (6 rebounds), Auquria McIntyre 10 (6 rebounds), Madison Taylor 6, Kolby Snipes 6, Jza’Quashia Chavis 5 (2 steals), Megan Pleasants 0 (5 rebounds, 3 assists), Remy Simmons 0 (5 rebounds).
Records — Hillside 16-5, 7-1 PAC-6 4-A; Northern 9-9, 3-4 PAC-6.