Northwood too much for NCSSM to overcome
The Northwood Chargers could be forgiven if they felt like they were seeing double Friday night. That blue No. 15 from the N.C. School of Science & Math was everywhere — stealing a ball here, rejecting a shot there, firing in a jumper and opening a lane to the basket for a layup.
Joseph Chukwu was a one-man wrecking crew, firing in a game-high 33 points for the Unicorns. Unfortunately for the visiting Unicorns, it needed more than Chukwu to break the pressure defense of the Chargers, who won 75-45 with four players in double figures, but none approaching Chukwu’s numbers.
“He’s been carrying us all year, so we rely on his offense a lot,” NCSSM coach Anthony Myles said of his standout 6-2, 170-pound point guard with a 30-inch vertical jump.
“But again, as we get up into the season he’s going to see a lot of double and triple coverage, so we’re trying to challenge other guys to step up,” Myles said.
Northwood was holding those “other guys” down all night Friday.
“The first half they played well. I think it was only a 13-point game at halftime. They put up a good fight,” Northwood first-year coach Donald Williams said of the Unicorns.
“I think the second half our pressure really turned the game around. Whenever we are on top of our game we’re playing well defensively, pressuring the ball, getting in the passing lanes. When we focus on that we’re really tough,” he added.
The Chargers didn’t do too shabbily on offense either. Aumad Walker and Kadarus Rone had 12 points each. Chris Smith and Brett Svendsen chipped in with 10 apiece.
“Aumad is normally our leading scorer so we look for that out of him,” Williams said. “Kadarus has games where he scores, but he does everything for us, score when we need to, rebound, defend.”
Every player on Northwood’s roster scored. Except Monte Smith.
“I’ll have to get on (Smith) about that,” Williams said, laughing. “I can’t say anything about that since he’s the point guard. I’m sure he had a couple of assists.
“We’re a balanced team. That’s when we’re at our best when we share the ball and spread our points around,” he said.
The Chargers dominated floor play, especially driving to the basket, while their swarming defense forced the Unicorns to shoot from outside.
“Our strength is getting to the basket and penetrating. We like to play inside out, move our pass on penetration,” Williams said.
“We just ran up against a good ballclub. They took us out of what we wanted to do offensively and defensively. Give them all the credit,” said Myles, in his 18th season as either head coach or assistant at NCSSM.
Trailing by 13 points at the break, NCSSM got in deeper trouble early in the second half on three straight layups by Northwood for a 38-19. But Chukwu outscored Northwood on a 9-2 run by himself to narrow the gap to a dozen, 40-28, at 4:10 of the third period.
From that point on, the Chargers began pulling away. They scored the last eight points of the game to balloon a 22-point lead to the final 30-point margin.
Northwood 75, N.C. Science & Math 45
(Boys’ game summary)
NCSSM — Joseph Chukwu 33, Russell Acyeetey 4, Chase Hayhurst 3, Michael Kearney 3, Kyle Lee 2.
NORTHWOOD — Kadarus Rone 12, Aumad Walker 12, Chris Smith 10, Brett Svendsen 10, Ti Pinnix 8, Elijah Washington 6, Parrish Morrow 5, Chaz Bailey 2, Jabari Dark 2, Devin Lassiter 2, Adam Leviner 2, Dalton Thomas 2, Jared Worley 2.
N.C. Science & Math 8 11 15 11—45
Pittsboro Northwood 16 16 20 23—75
Records—N.C. School of Science & Math 2-9, 2-8 Carolina 12 1-A/2-A Conference; Northwood 8-6, 5-2 C-12.
Northwood 63, N.C. Science & Math 18
(Girls’ game summary)
NCSSM — Angel Chukwu 5, Jenny Wei 4, Paige Wulf 3, Elizabeth Hayes 2, Samantha Michael 2, Nicole Ward 2.
NORTHWOOD — Gaby Mehringer 17, Shontai Totten 12, Jazmine Atkins 10, Jasmine Harris 8, Tyeshia Baldwin 7, Mariah Morrow 3, Brianna Green 2, Maria Vanderford 2, Ebony Watson 2.
N.C. Science & Math 2 7 6 3—18
Pittsboro Northwood 31 11 8 13—63
Records—N.C. School of Science & Math 0-11, 0-8 C-12; Northwood 11-3, 7-0 C-12.