Prep Basketball: Northgate sends coach out a winner in home finaleBy DOUG GORMAN
Banners around the gym at Northgate High School reminded the boys basketball team to “ Raise Cain Forever”
It was a tribute to retiring Vikings head coach Mack Cain, who has spent more than three decades as a head coach, first at Jonesboro, and then at Northgate where he has been since 2004.
The non-region contest was a battle between two longtime colleagues.
Pike County head coach Mark Andrews arrived from Stockbridge High where the two developed an intense, on-the court-rivalry. This time, Cain got the better of his friend, building a 24-10 lead at the half en route to the win.
Moments after the game, the school honored Cain with a celebration with several friends and associates speaking about their relationship with the retiring coach.
“There are a lot of people that teach and coach at Northgate High School, who mean so much to me. We could not run the athletic department with out these people,” he said. “I have been pleased that I have been blessed to coach against some good people.”
The Vikings used clutch 3-point shooting in the first half to pull away from the Pirates.
Cain’s son, Peyton, fittingly opened the game with a 3-point shot – the first of 11 by Northgate.
The Vikings added 3-point shots by Aldrecus Evans, Tyler Dalhberg, and Armand Upshaw in the second quarter to help build the double-digit lead.
Northgate then pushed the margin to a 41-16 advantage with 15 points in the third – all on 3-point shots.
The Vikings were paced by Evans, Trey Stargill and Tyler Dahlberg as each finished with 9 points as the team spread the wealth.
Dahlberg hit three 3-pointers including two in the second half for his nine points. Jacob Robinson also hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help the Vikings pull away.
Stout defense at the Pirates end of the floor helped Northgate limit the Pike to just four points in the second quarter.
In girls action, the Lady Vikings fell 33-16 to Pike County in a non-region game where both teams struggled with their shooting.
After scoring just nine points in the first two quarters, Northgate (2-13) managed just one in the third quarter on an Ebonee Echols' free throw.
It allowed Pike to take a 24-10 lead heading into the final period while getting baskets from Asia Harrell and DeKenna Beckham .
Beckham scored 10 of her game-high 12 points in the first half.
The Lady Pirates turned a 10-4 lead at the end of the first quarter into a 18-9 lead at the half.
Northgate’s Katie Mitchell hit a 3-point shot late in the second quarter to trim the Lady Pirates’ lead to 12-9, but Pike outscored the Lady Vikings 7-0 to close out the first half.
Mitchell finished the game with five points to lead the Lady Vikings. Rose Barrera broke a lengthy scoring drought for the Vikings with back-to-back baskets in the fourth quarter and finished with four points.