Published Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Prep Basketball: Northgate teams back on track, sweep Creekside

By CHRIS GOLTERMANN

cgoltermann@newnan.com

Northgate basketball teams came back from disappointing Region 4B-AAAAA losses in big ways on Tuesday at home, each posting victories over Creekside that could go a long way in defining the rest of the 2012-13 season.

Not long after the Lady Vikings lineup made entirely of underclassmen remained steady at the free-throw line for a 46-40 victory, Northgate’s boys held their composure by rallying back in the second half and then holding on in overtime for a 59-54 win over the Seminoles.

Both respective head coaches received team efforts on Tuesday, enough to feel like their lineups were pointed in the right direction heading into Friday’s trip to Whitewater.

“We had all six score tonight and that’s the first time we’ve had that in a while,” said girls head coach Matt Trucks, whose team was coming off last Friday’s loss at McIntosh. “You could feel that we were starting to put it all together. All of them deserve this tonight. I’ll take it.”

(To view photos from both games, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)

With Ebonee Echols leading the way with 20 points on 12 of 16 shooting from the free-throw line - and much of it in the fourth quarter with Creekside trying to rally back from a 29-23 deficit — the Lady Vikings improved to 4-9 overall and 2-6 in subregion play ahead of Creekside in fourth place.

Northgate finished 20 of 30 from the free-throw line while Creekside was just 2 of 9 heading into the final period.

Northgate’s girls used a 10-0 run between the first and second periods ending with a basket by freshman Myriah Redner, whose play in the Lady Vikings’ zone defense helped her team go to the break ahead 24-19.

Northgate’s boys, meanwhile, shook off a rough first half where the Seminoles dominated the glass on both ends to improve to 4-8 and 3-5 in the subregion. Wendell Watson’s team-high 16 points helped keep the Vikings in a 28-21 deficit at halftime thanks to teammate Tyler Dahlberg’s buzzer-beating floater.

From there, center Adrian Tolbert got stronger as the game progressed against a Creekside lineup with three starters 6-foot-2 or taller as Northgate grabbed a slim 36-35 lead after three quarters.

Tolbert scored five of Northgate’s 11 points in the extra period and the Vikings connected on 7 of 9 free throws in the final four minutes of the game while joining Trey Stargill among the team’s late heroics. After being scoreless at halftime, the duo combined for 18 points with all 12 of Stargill’s coming in the final 12 minutes.

“We told the guys at halftime we needed to do a better job of getting back on defense,” said Vikings head coach Mack Cain, whose team struggled to stop a front line of 6-5 Chris Sanders-McCollum, 6-6 Edward Jones and 6-2 Ahjanni Aska during the first two periods of play. “I’m real proud of Adrian Tolbert and Trey Stargill. They both had a terrible first half but made some big plays for us.”

The Vikings had five players score at least six points including Tolbert, who had eight of his nine rebounds after halftime. He came up with a key block that led to a Creekside turnover ahead 51-49 in the extra session before Dahlberg hit another clutch shot off glass to push a four-point lead.

Stargill and Tolbert sank four straight foul shots after the Seminoles closed to within two for a final time.

Santerra Fuller’s 3-pointer with under five seconds forced overtime for Creekside, but the Seminoles were just 1 of 6 from the free-throw line in the extra period.

Northgate trailed through nearly the entire first half following an offensive rebound by Jones to close the opening period. The Vikings didn’t regain it until Aldrecus Evans drained a 3-pointer in the waning moments of the third quarter to put his team ahead 36-35 going into the final period.

“We had a guy come off the bench and give us a big three for his only points tonight,” Cain said of Evans. “Everybody contributed.”

Alex Rutherford and Dahlberg gave Northgate half of its 10-point second quarter effort off the bench with Tolbert struggling in the paint before halftime. Dahlberg finished with nine points while Luke Motzel added eight, including two key baskets in the third quarter to pace the comeback.

Watson had 12 of his 15 points in the first half to keep Northgate in range including nine in an 11-point opening period.

The Lady Vikings also received key contributions throughout the lineup. In her second game back from a broken hand that had her out all of December, point guard Katie Mitchell had eight points and five assists, including a pair on crosscourt passes in the offensive zone to Echols for jumpers during the team’s 10-0 run.

Echols had six points in the first quarter, which included five lead changes between teams, neither of which could gain more than a two-point advantage.

The offensive outburst, however, pushed a 19-10 Northgate lead on Render’s basket with the Lady Vikings trying to keep the ball out of the hands of Creekside junior Anna Watkins, who had eight of her game-high 21 points in the second quarter to keep the Lady Seminoles within range, down 24-19 at the break.

Render countered with four of her seven points in the second period for Northgate. Mitchell added eight and Rose Barrera finished with five while playing out of position on the front line. Both Alexis Sutton and Amber Radda had three points, all of which came after halftime.

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SCORING SUMMARIES

GIRLS – Northgate 46, Creekside 40

Creekside     10   9   4   17 — 40

Northgate     12   12   5   17 — 46

Creekside (1-9, 1-7) 40 – Jasmine Dorsey 2 1-1 6, Danielle Maeweather 1 0-0 2, Zacouria McGowan 2 2-4 6, Anna Watkins 9 3-4 21, Taylor Henderson 1 1-2 3, Joi McGoughity 1 0-2 2. Totals 16 7-13 40.

Northgate (4-9, 2-6) 46 – Ebonee Echols 4 12-16 20, Myriah Render 3 1-2 7, Rose Barrera 2 1-2 5, Katie Mitchell 2 4-6 8, Amber Radda 1 1-2 3, Alexis Sutton 1 1-2 3. Totals 13 20-30 46.

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BOYS – Northgate 59, Creekside 54 (Overtime)

Creekside     13   15   7   13   6 — 54

Northgate     11   10   15   12   11 — 59

Creekside (2-7, 1-6) 54 – Chris Sanders-McCollum 7 4-8 18, Deshun Jackson 1 0-2 2, Santerra Fuller 4 1-3 11, Ahjanni Aska 1 0-0 2, Edward Jones 3 3-5 9, Dejon Davis 0 0-0 0, Naequon Newman 2 0-0 5, Quentin Lewis 0 0-0 0, Antonio Kitchens 2 0-0 5, Devonte Wilson 0 0-0 0, Larry Brown 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 8-18 54. Fouled Out — Aska, Jones.

Northgate 59 (4-8, 3-5) 59 – Trey Stargill 2 8-10 12, Wendell Watson 5 1-5 16, Peyton Cain 1 0-0 2, Luke Motzel 3 2-2 8, Adrian Tolbert 1 4-7 6, Tyler Dahlberg 3 2-2 9, Alex Rutherford 1 1-2 3, Aldrecus Evans 1 0-0 3. Totals 17 17-28 59.

3-point Goals — Creekside 4 (Fuller 2, Newman, Kitchens); Northgate 5 (Watson 3, Dahlberg, Evans)

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