It isn’t hard to understand why Northrop came out a little slow last night against Snider. The Bruins played five games in four days last week, one of the tougher stretches of basketball any high school team has had.
So maybe it's understandable the Bruins struggled and fell behind 30-29 at halftime while shooting less than 30 percent from the field in the first half.
Northrop (11-2, 2-1 SAC) found its energy and shot in the second half, though, as it outscored Snider 21-8 in the third quarter en route to a 75-59 victory at Northrop.
“I feel like we were a little fatigued mentally and physically, but our hearts weren't fatigued,” said Northrop's Brenton Scott, who led all scorers with 28. “You know we wanted to come out here and prove we still are the best. The second half we boosted our energy on defense, and we came out here and blew them out the water.”
The energy on defense was evident from the first play of the second half. As Snider passed the ball in, Bryson Scott broke for it, tipped it away and took it in stride for an easy layup.
Northrop never trailed the rest of the game as it opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run.
“We played one bad quarter,” said Snider head coach John Todor. “The other three quarters we are within two points, but we made some careless turnovers and they got some easy transition points, and they had way too many offensive rebounds.”
The offensive rebounds were part of an adjustment for the Bruins in the second half. Head coach Barak Coolman said he talked to his team at halftime about going inside and taking better shots to overcome the shooting woes of the first half.
“They were kind of playing a junk defense, and to be able to get it inside was important for us,” Coolman said. “That really opened things up and put a lot of pressure on their defense once we got some easy baskets.”
This was the second game the two teams had played in eight days. They met in the SAC Holiday Tournament semifinals Dec. 27, a game Northrop won 88-67. Snider learned from its mistakes and found a plan that worked to perfection in the first half.
It took an 11-4 lead to start the game by making shots and eliminating Bryson Scott. Todor said the Panthers defense was designed to stop one of the Scott brothers, and it worked for the first half as Bryson Scott was held to only 7 points before he finished the game with 25. Snider was led by Stephen Halstead's 20 points.
“We spent a whole week preparing for them. Thought we had a great gameplan coming in and we executed for three quarters, and we just didn't get it done in one quarter,” Todor said.
The win for Northrop helps the Bruins keep pace in the SAC. It kept them one game behind Concordia Lutheran, who is 3-0 in the conference following a win against South Side last night, while dropping Snider (4-3, 1-2) two games off the pace.
“At this point, you can't afford two losses (in the SAC),” Coolman said. “Two losses, I don't think anyone can win conference. We might to get a share of it with one loss, so it's going to be important for us to keep playing one game at a time.”
NORTHROP 75, SNIDER 59
Snider 17 13 8 21 - 59
Northrop 18 11 21 25 - 75
Snider: Covington 7, Washington 10, Halstead 20, L. Williams 2, Godfry 4, Harvey 2, Spitnale 8, D. Williams 6.
Northrop: Brenton Scott 28, Womack 2, Thomas 4, Claypool 11, Bryson Scott 25, Cowherd 5.
Rebounds: S/33 (D. Williams 5, Halstead 5, Harvey 4); N/40 (Richmond 9, Bryson Scott 5). Assists: S/9 (Spitnale 3); N/8 (Brenton Scott 3, Claypool 3). Steals: S/4 (Spitnale 2); N/7 (Brenton Scott 3, Bryson Scott 3). Blocked shots: N/Womack 2.