Riverside, Northern fall in championship, consolation finals
Charlotte’s Northside Christian Academy took the crown in the inaugural Tobacco Road Holiday Basketball Invitational with a 67-54 win over Riverside on Saturday.
Riverside hosted the tournament, coming up short without the services of its talented, freshman point guard.
In the consolation game prior to that, Southeast Raleigh nipped Northern 78-77.
Outsized, Riverside’s guards were bothered by Northside’s pressure on defense, Northside’s length giving the Pirates problems.
Yet Riverside managed to lead 14-13 at the end of the first period.
It was the second game of the tournament that Riverside had to go without Justice Kithcart, who normally starts at point guard and would have been the Pirates’ primary ball handler against the Knights’ ball hawking from guys like Jeremy Ritter (10 points).
Kithcart scored 20 points in the opening game of the tournament on Thursday before being sidelined with a leg injury that is not believed to be serious.
Riverside’s Al Hughes poured in 30 points on Friday to get the Pirates to the title game, and he looked to keep it going against Northside with a deep 3-pointer from the baseline that nearly drew rain.
But Northside began to pull away with balanced scoring. The Knights led 33-23 at halftime and kept their feet on the gas in the final 16 minutes.
“The second quarter, we stood back and let them hit us in the mouth,” Riverside’s Jordan Jones said. “We backed off on them, and we let them take advantage when we were slacking, and they just capitalized.”
Riverside big man Mike Tillotson ended the game with 11 points, lifting some of the scoring burden from Hughes, who finished with 24 points.
But Northside’s Keyshawn Woods (25 points) played like a grown man and was named the tournament’s most valuable player for the high school division.
In the consolation game, a Northern scoring flurry at the end of the first half allowed the hometown Knights to cut into Southeast Raleigh’s 11-point lead, despite Bulldogs junior William Walker finding crafty ways to weave baskets.
Walker’s 16 points in the first two periods helped Southeast Raleigh take a 35-30 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Ricky Council II also had 16 first-half points for Northern.
At the start of the fourth period, Council was fouled while draining a 3-pointer for a four-point play, getting the Knights within three of Southeast Raleigh.
But Walker kept showing up with buckets.
Northern’s Emmett Tilley hit a 3, and then a layup from teammate Kentrell Barkley tied the game at 65 with 4:16 left.
Two Council free throws brought Northern within a point with 1:21 to go.
Southeast Raleigh’s Myles Harris scored to give the Bulldogs a 76-73 lead.
Council was fouled and went to the line with 36.1 left. He made both, leaving the Knights down one.
Walker missed the front end of a one-and-one, setting up Northern’s Jaquan Harris for an assist to Kourtney Farrow down low and the lead.
Farrow was fouled on the shot but missed the free throw.
Council was whistled for fouling Northside’s Kwamaine Fairley, who made good on two free throws to give the Bulldogs a 78-77 margin.
Harris hustled the ball upcourt and called time with 3.3 seconds to go.
The Knights huddled while Northern coach Ronnie Russell drew up a play.
“Sideline, out-of-bounds play,” Russell said after the game.
Council was supposed to get the ball, but Southeast Raleigh ended up with it, sticking a sword in the Knights’ comeback.
Tobacco Road Holiday Invitational
Southeast Raleigh 78,Northern 77
NORTHERN – Ryan Arundale 5, Jaquan Harris 10, Kentrell Barkley 19, Ricky Council II 32, Kourtney Farrow 4, Emmett Tilley 7.
SOUTHEAST RALEIGH – Willie Gaskins 2, William Walker 26, Justin Morris 19, Kwamaine Fairley 6, Myles Harris 14, Demetri Lyons 5, Demetrius Sanders 6.
Northern 11 19 17 30—77
Southeast Raleigh 15 20 18 25—78
Records — Northern 7-6, Southeast Raleigh 7-5.
Tobacco Road Holiday Invitational
Northside 67, Riverside 54
RIVERSIDE — Jordan McCain 4, Al Hughes 24, Mike Singletary 3, Treyvon Blandshaw 2, Jake Kusz 6, Jordan Jones 4, Mike Tillotson 11.
NORTHSIDE — Keyshawn Woods 25, Luke Morrison 19, Phillip Reed 4, Jeremy Ritter 10, Austin Dasent 1, Charles Minlend 2, Addison Holmes 6.
Riverside 14 9 16 15—54
Northside 13 20 17 17—67
Records — Riverside 7-6, Charlotte Northside Christian Academy 10-1.