Northern holds off Southern in 4th for key PAC-6 boys' basketball win
If the Northern High School boys basketball team advances back to the playoffs this season, it will because it responded to its opponents’ scoring streaks at least as well as it did in its 58-49 victory at Southern High School on Friday.
Although the Knights led the entire game, the Spartans made two separate runs of 7-0 in the fourth quarter, cutting the Knights’ lead to four points each time. But Northern responded behind the play of its 6-foot-5 junior forward Ricky Council.
Execution was the key.
“I thought we executed really well (on offense),” Northern coach Ronnie Russell said. “But we could have done better on defense.”
Execution, or the lack thereof, was the story for Southern as well.
“We got it to four there in the fourth quarter, but our execution on offense just wasn’t there,” Southern coach Kendrick Hall said. He added that he thought his team played “flat,” perhaps because it’s in the heaviest part of its schedule, but offered no excuses.
“Everyones playing a lot of games right now,” Hall said. “Not just us.”
The Knights (10-8, 4-5 PAC-6) forced five turnovers in the first quarter as they played efficiently on offense to take a 14-6 lead.
The Knights’ defense showed cracks in the second quarter. Tyran Cameron started the second quarter with a three-pointer for Southern. But Northern held par as Council scored nine first-half points.
The Knights took a 26-19 lead into halftime.
Marvin Tillman scored the first basket in the second half for Southern to cut Northern’s lead to only five points. But the Knights responded with an 11-0 run, Ryan Arundale nailing a three-pointer and Council making both shots of a 1-and-1 free-throw attempt.
Jerrick Richmond sparked a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter for the Spartans (7-12, 2-6 PAC-6) with an early basket.
But with each Southern run, Council was there to respond. He scored eight fourth-quarter points to finish the game with a game-high 21 points.
Amari Hamilton came off the bench to lead the Spartans with 13 points.
“The thing is — we knew they (the Spartans) were going to make a run,” Russell said. “It’s the way they play. I’m happy with the way we responded.
“I think we’re in one of the stronger conferences in the state. We want to try to finish. We need to try to finish on a strong note. We made the playoffs last year and we want to get back there.”
Northern 58, Southern 49
NORTHERN — Ricky Council 21, Kentrell Barkley 12, Kourtney Farrow 8, Ryan Arundale 6, Emmett Tilley 4, Timothy Bell 3, Jaquan Harris 2, Dillon Leovic 2.
Southern — Amari Hamilton 13, Tyran Cameron 9, Jerrick Richmond 8, Shamiek Wilson 7, Marvin Tillman 4, Ryan Hester 4, Vince Philips 2, Terrance Bradsher 2.
Northern 14 12 13 19—58
Southern 6 13 8 22—49
Records—Northern 10-8, 4-5 PAC-6 4-A; Southern 7-12, 2-6 PAC-6.