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Sunday, January 04, 2009

North - Northridge Battle in Overtime
J. C. Tilton
League leading Northridge came into Lewisburg to take on Tri County North last Saturday, if they expected a cakewalk, they were disappointed. The Polar Bears are tied for first in the SWBL Buckeye division, while TCN has had a tough time to stay out of the cellar of the CCC with a win over National Trail over the Holiday break. That has been their only win of the season so far, but the Panthers were ready to play on their home court.
North played some sloppy ball in the first quarter and part of the second. Turnovers were a big problem giving up 4 steals and 2 travelling calls in the first quarter alone. Both teams mixed up their defenses. The Polar Bears starting in a triangle and two and later showing man to man. Occasionally going to a full court man to man. North used several different zone defenses thru out the game.
Northridge was very much in command over the first half, but couldn’t quite shake the Panthers who stayed on their heels. They got the turnovers under control and using good passes and shot selection chipped away at the Northridge lead. The first half was a low scoring affair ending with the Polar Bears up 24-18.
Both teams got their offensive engines revved up in the second half. North raced out of the blocks first. Northridge tried to ambush the Panthers with a half court trap. But the fast passing Panthers quickly broke this defense down and got some easy baskets before they switched defenses. With this momentum North kept the pressure up, catching up and then passing the Polar Bears. A Northridge time out did not cool down the Panthers. And the frustration was displayed on the court when a Northridge player had a word with a referee after a call and was tagged with a technical. North had an amazing 22-2 point run and the lead. In the last two minutes, North cooled off and allowed Northridge to catch up but ended the quarter with a 42-35 lead.
The fourth quarter began as a foul fest. The teams went into bonus and then double bonus - exchanging trips to the foul line. Northridge went back to full court man to man and got some turnovers. With about 3 minutes left they had a 5 point lead. And at two minutes went into a slowdown. North stayed on task and fought back. In the waning seconds with Northridge trying to eat clock, Brandon McAdams tough defense generated a 5 second call against Northridge and gave North the ball and new life. Then with 5 seconds left on the clock and North down by two he was fouled. He toed the line and calmly sunk two free throws to extend the game into overtime.
In the overtime, North spotted Northridge 5 quick points, then tried to climb back into the game. But Polar Bear Frank Spells had other ideas. Northridge spread their offense and opened lanes for Spells to drive to the basket. He would end up scoring 7 points in the overtime to propel Northridge to the win. North tried to rally but ended up short by 5 - 70 to 65.
Coach Woodworth wasn’t happy about the loss, but was pleased with the teams performance. “Offensively we had a good night. Cody Burnside had some key baskets in the second half and Brandon McAdams had a good night. He should be the most valuable player in the conference. He hit free throws when we needed them. But defensively we gave up too much. We held them at 24 in the first half, but gave up 48 points after that. If we can get our defense working better then our team will do better.”
North Scoring: Broughton 10, Burnside 18, B. McAdams 28, Werner 5, Robinson 2, Hofacker 2.

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