Northern dishes it out in big win over Neuse Christian
Northern moved the ball well against Raleigh’s Neuse Christian Academy and never trailed in an 85-61 win in the opening round of the Tobacco Road Tip Time Invitational at Riverside High School on Thursday.
“We executed better than we executed in a long time,” Northern coach Ronnie Russell said. “I think that’s what got it going for us.”
Northern guard Ryan Arundale, a good shooter, didn’t hit a basket, but his six assists put points on the scoreboard.
Junior wingman Ricky Council II is Northern’s main attraction, drawing no shortage of attention when he has the ball in his hands. He dished out five assists to go with 12 points.
This was a Neuse team that entered the tournament averaging 84 points per game, but Lions coach Scottie Richardson said the stage at Riverside was too big for his squad that includes six sophomores and four freshmen.
“Not ready for prime time, but we’ll get there,” Richardson said.
Neuse point guard Daron Gipson didn’t shrink under the bright lights, leading all scorers with 21 points.
“Very good senior, and I wish I had a lot more of ‘em,” Richardson said. “Daron’s a great player; had a good game tonight.”
Gipson gets to the rim with a forceful, attacking style that is reminiscent of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose.
Northern’s Kentrell Barkley was the prime beneficiary of the Knights’ good ball movement. He put up 18 points and pulled down seven boards.
Kourtney Farrow was a defensive end on Northern’s football team, and he banged around for 13 points down there in the paint on the basketball floor against Neuse.
“That was because of the execution,” Russell said. “He’s not a great scorer, but he did a better job finishing for us.”
As a team, Northern handed out 29 assists.
Northern’s bench was good. There was little noticeable drop-off when reserves including freshmen T.J. Bell (8 points) and Emmett Tilley (7 points) and sophomore Isaiah Townsend (8 points) were on the floor.
Russell trusted his backups to close out the final minutes of the game.
“They stepped it up, but that’s what we expect out of those guys,” Russell said. “They go hard in practice every day. We’re getting what we expect out of them.”
Northern 85, Neuse Christian 61
NORTHERN — Jaquan Harris 12, Isaiah Townsend 8, Marcellus Allison 3, Kentrell Barkley 18, Dillon Leovic 4, Ricky Council II 12, Kourtney Farrow 13, T.J. Bell 8, Emmett Tilley 7.
NEUSE CHRISTIAN — Daron Gipson 21, Tim Ocampo 9, Fred Rambert 2, Justin Storey 4, Jalen Gaddy 19, Luke Adams 6.
Records — Northern 7-4, Neuse Christian Academy 8-4