Council, freshman lead Knights past Garner
Northern coach Ronnie Russell used a five-point flurry from a freshman he recently plucked from the junior varsity squad to help put away previously unbeaten Garner 73-67 on Tuesday night.
Northern’s Ricky Council II led all scorers with 25 points, but the five points in rapid succession toward the end of the third period by Knights freshman Emmett Tilley gave the home team a 56-51 lead heading into the final frame.
It was Tilley’s first varsity game, but he was hot when the Knights needed a lift.
Russell said he had to elevate both Tilley and T.J. Bell from the jayvee team since point guard T.J. Crutchfield is on crutches with a broken ankle, and another player was not in the lineup because he hadn’t been getting the job done in the classroom.
The Trojans stayed on the Knights’ heels all night, buoyed by 21 points from Demarcus Sanford.
The little things did in the Trojans, Garner coach Eddie Gray said.
“Turnovers and free throws,” Gray said. “We didn’t make our free throws, we missed easy shots inside and our guards didn’t play very well. We made too many turnovers in crucial times in the game.”
Northern also was sloppy at times, but Council said the Knights’ familiarity with each other is what carried them over the hump.
“We practice every day hard, and we know each other like the backs of our hands,” Council said.
Defense was the thing, Russell said.
“We changed from a zone press to a man press, and I think that helped us out right there at the end,” Russell said.
Justin Baird’s only basket of the night for Garner tied the game at 60 with a little more than five minutes left in the game.
It was 61-61 after both teams made free throws.
Bell found Northern’s Kentrell Barkley hanging around the basket for a layup, and Ryan Arundale’s free throw gave the Knights a 64-61 lead.
Barkley later made two free throws to give the Knights a 67-63 advantage with 1:38 to play.
After a timeout, Northern came up with a steal, and Arundale turned it into a 69-63 lead.
Northern 73, Garner 67
GARNER — Demarcus Sanford 21, Julius Barnes 10, Jasper Stallings 8, Sammy Saunders 14, Foster Dubar 6, Kyreece Mills 6, Justin Baird 2.
NORTHERN — Ricky Council II 25, Jaquan Harris 9, Kentrell Barkley 19, Ryan Arundale 7, Dillon Leovic 4, Kourtney Farrow 4, Emmitt Tilley 5.
Records—Garner 5-1, Northern 6-2.