Northern comes from behind with huge 4th quarter, tops ECH
In a stunning display of grit, will and athletic exuberance, East Chapel Hill jumped out to an early 15-2 lead over PAC-6 king of the hill Northern on Tuesday night, and for three solid periods looked like world beaters.
But the thing about being world beaters against Northern is the need to control the tempo for all four periods. In an explosive fourth-period fusillade and a seeming blink of the eye, the Knights ripped off 32 points in the final period to avoid disaster and down the host Wildcats 68-55.
“That’s two games in a row we started out that way. Flat. I’ve got to find out what’s going on in their heads,” said Northern coach Ronnie Russell. “In our conference anybody can beat anybody and you saw that tonight. They had our backs to the wall.”
He attributed the failure to jump to an early lead to a “half and half” formula — Northern’s lethargy and East Chapel Hill’s intensity.
“They’re a difficult group to play,” East Chapel Hill coach Ray Hartsfield said.
“They’re tall, they run like deer and they jump like antelopes,” Hartsfield said. “Kentrell Barkley, he’s just special. Ricky Council’s good. They’re both tremendous young players. But when they started attacking we just had no answer at the rim for them.”
Barkley, a 6-5 junior forward, led all scorers with 22 points. Council, a senior 6-5 shooting guard, had 19. T.J. Bell, a 6-4 sophomore forward, scored 10.
East Chapel Hill also had three players in double digits, led by junior guard Arkavius Parks with 16 points. Robert Wilson had 14 and Tykeem Woodard 11.
“I thought we did a great job putting our will on them for three quarters, keeping them away from the breakouts, because that’s what can really hurt you, letting them play an open floor game,” Hartsfield said.
“When they get out and all of a sudden you’ve got to react to them getting up 6, 8 points, it changes what your game plan was because the clock’s running down and you’ve got to start doing different things,” he said. “And once you start doing different things against those guys that’s what they want. They get an open floor.”
“We didn’t attack the zone the way we’re capable of attacking it,” and East Chapel Hill changed what they were doing in the zone defense before the Knights caught on in the final period, Russell said.
Hartsfield repeatedly switched fronts between 1-3-1 and 2-3, confusing the Northern players and denying them the high post.
“We didn’t run our secondary break like we should,” Russell said. “We didn’t run that at all the first half.”
But the wily Barkley dominated on both ends of the court. When Northern closed that 13-point first period lead to 15-9, he scored the last two buckets. With 2:03 remaining he got a defensive rebound, ran the length of the court, missed his shot but got his own rebound and scored on the second chance.
At 4:31 of the second period he got a defensive rebound and tossed way downcourt to a wide open Bell, who hit a slam dunk. At 3:10 of the third period Barkley blocked a shot by the Wildcats Duncan Hemminger, and fired downcourt to Council for a slam dunk.
Although Northern took a brief 21-19 lead at 2:34 of the second period when 6-foot-2 senior guard Jamal Goodlow converted a steal into a 3-pointer, the Knights were still down 38-36 headed into the final period.
Northern outscored the Wildcats 32-17 in the final period, immediately retaking the lead 39-38 on a 3-pointer by 6-foot senior guard Jaquan Harris at 7:33.
That was followed by Barkley rejecting a shot by Woodard, snatching up the ball and going the length of the court for a slam dunk, picking up a foul and nailing the free throw.
It was off to the races after that, with Barkley pounding another slam dunk at 3:05 and Council finishing up the period with 10 points, including a smooth left handed layup at 1:47 after he melted through the Wildcats defense and zipped up the lane.
Northern 68, East Chapel Hill 55
Northern 9 12 15 32 — 68
East Chapel Hill 15 9 14 17 — 55
NORTHERN — Kentrell Barkley 22, Ricky Council 19, T.J. Bell 10, Emmett Tilley 9, Jaquan Harris 3, T.J. Crutchfield 2.
EAST CHAPEL HILL — Arkavius Parks 16, Robert Wilson 14, Tykeem Woodard 11, Carter Collins 6, Dylan Farrow 4, Duncan Hemminger 2.
Records—Northern 18-2, 5-1 PAC-6 4-A; East Chapel Hill 8-12, 1-6 PAC-6.
Northern 60, East Chapel Hill 46
Northern 14 18 11 17 — 60
East Chapel Hill 6 12 15 13 — 46
NORTHERN — Rhianna Council 20, Kolby Snipes 14, Madison Taylor 11, Remy Simmons 6, Andrea Graham 4, Megan Pleasants 3, Lauren Carroll 2.
EAST CHAPEL HILL — Ali Cyr-Scully 21, Sarah Towne 10, Riley Foster 6, Grace Haley 4, T.J. Johnson 3, BriAnna Tate 2.
Records—Northern 9-8, 3-3 PAC-6 4-A; East Chapel Hill 6-12, 1-6 PAC-6.