By Gene Galin
Pittsboro, NC – The Northwood varsity basketball team won Friday’s home conference game against Cedar Ridge by a score of 55-32. The Chargers improve their season record to 5-2, while the Red Wolves drop to 2-3.
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The leading scorer for Northwood was Colby Burleson with 14 points. Twelve of those points came from him sinking four 3-pointers. Drake Powell scored 13 points and Fredrico Whitaker had 9 points.
Head coach Matt Brown noted in post game comments that there were “great contributions from everybody on the bench. It was high intensity game. We definitely improved from the first time that we played them. I knew that coming in, it was going to be a difficult game. They like to pack it in. They are really well coached. It’s hard to score at first, but thank goodness for Colby hitting some threes in the beginning to kind of open up that defense.”
Coach Brown was proud of the defense: “It all started on the defensive side tonight beyond. We forced a lot of turnovers. We forced them to take a couple of bad shots here and there. And we were able to convert all those.”
At this point in the season we see the coach being able to make substitutions and changes in the lineups more easily and more smoothly. Coach Brown added: “I kind of knew I would be going into these last six games of the season. Having some practices and games underneath our belt and some analysis and statistics. We got a look at who plays well together. And we get to mesh with those guys and put certain lineups in that are more efficient than others.”
In previous games, the Chargers seemed to underperform under pressure situations. You could see an improvement in this game when the Red Wolves tried to apply full court pressure.
Coach Brown’s team has preparing for this in practices. “We’re practicing those types of situations a lot. And they’re approved. They’re freshmen, they’re learning a lot. The seniors that we have are learning. Those guys didn’t get a lot of time last year from last year’s group and they’re learning on the fly just kind of like the freshmen. I think they’re getting the hang of it. The team; the game is starting to slow down for them. And the pressure is really not really not getting to them right now.”
Did Kenan Parrish make his first dunk of the season during this game? “Yes, it was and we are very happy that he got that. He’s improved every single day. As you can see, he made a lot of shots. He altered a lot of shots, rebounded well, make good decisions out of the post. He’s going to get better and better every single day.”
During the game things got a little tight. Jarin Stevenson seems to be a big target out there. Every time he gets the ball, he gets double and triple teamed. He gets a lot of pressure out there. Things got a little bit uptight, a little bit frustrating.
What do coach Brown tell Jarin about his getting a technical? “You know what; I was okay with it. To be honest. It showed a little emotion from him and which we like. I told him not to worry about it. Teams are going to do that to him. He’s just got to be composed. He’s doing everything the right way. He’s playing the right way. He passes out of the post. He finds people from those triple and double teams, and we’re making those shots. So we’re getting open because he’s getting triple teamed, and because he’s such a great passer.”
As a freshman, Jarin has been the team’s leading rebounder heading into this game with an average of 7.7 rebounds per game.
With about two minutes left in the game coach Brown brought in all of his substitute players. “I’m so happy that we got to do that. Because they worked their tails off during practice. They don’t get a lot of playing time here and there. But they worked their tails off. They do what we asked them to do. And they played well while they’re out there.”
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