Barkley comes up big in Northern win over Rocky Mount
Northern boys basketball coach Ronnie Russell doesn’t think the Knights match up well against other teams.
So in games like Saturday’s in the MLK High School Basketball Classic against Rocky Mount, the Knights simply out-performed and out-schemed their opponent, defeating the Gryphons 71-50 at Riverside High School.
“They had size, but I think with what we do they couldn’t keep up,”
Russell said. “Our bigs can run the floor. They had to rest their bigs. We play with a lot of intensity.”
Rocky Mount started a lineup that included 6-6 and 6-5 big men, and with one of Northern’s pair of star 6-5 wingmen missing — Ricky Council receiving a rest day for missing a team shoot-around on the heels of a Friday night win over Hillside — the Gryphons had a definite size advantage.
However, the Knights utilized their athleticism on transition plays and efficient in half-court sets.
Plus, Kentrell Barkley played a nearly perfect first half for the Knights.
Similar to how he started the win against Hillside Friday, Barkley got the Knights rolling with a fastbreak slam dunk as the Knights jumped out to an early 6-2 lead.
The Knights attacked the Gryphons’ 2-3 zone defense by working the ball around the perimeter and often finding Barley at the top of the key.
Dillon Leovic provided an assist to Barley as the Knights took a 10-5 lead late in the first quarter.
Barkley scored 21 first-half points which allowed him to create opportunities for his teammates. On a pair of assists, one to Leovic and another to Jaquan Harris, Barkley found the open man as the Knights went on a 12-1 run in the second quarter to open up an 11-point lead.
The Knights led 35-26 at halftime.
“He stepped up when he needed to,” said Russell. That’s the type of game we expect from him — we expect double-doubles.”
In the second half, the rest of the Knights came alive. Timothy Bell found Emmett Tilley open for a three-pointer as Northern went on a 7-0 run, taking a 48-34 lead into the fourth quarter.
In a trophy presentation after the game, Barkley was named the game’s MVP.
NORTHERN 71, ROCKY MOUNT 50
Northern |14 |21 |13 |23 — 71
Rocky Mount |11 |15 |8 |16 — 50
Northern — Kentrell Barkley 26, Jaquan Harris 12, Timothy Bell 8, Emmett Tiley 7, Timothy Crutchfield 6, Jamal Goodlow 6, Dilon Leovic 2, Tahj Small 2, Jamaal Moore 2.
Rocky Mount — Immanuel King 12, Isaiah Alston 11, Dante Battle 10, Jaquell Bryant 6, Broderick Caudle 5, Aumir Pittman 3, Patreon Pittman 2, Jaequez Jones 1.
3-point field goals — Northern 3 (Goodlow 2, Tiley 1); Rocky Mount 4 (Alston 3, Caudle 1).
Records — Northern 15-1, Rocky Mount 7-6.