Knights slay Chargers in third round thriller

BY DON BEANE, News + Record Staff
Posted 3/8/19

ROCKY MOUNT — A horrid start proved too much to overcome for Northwood Saturday night as the Chargers dropped a tough 58-52 decision to Northern Nash in third round action of the NCHSAA 3A State …

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Knights slay Chargers in third round thriller

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Posted

ROCKY MOUNT — A horrid start proved too much to overcome for Northwood Saturday night as the Chargers dropped a tough 58-52 decision to Northern Nash in third round action of the NCHSAA 3A State Playoffs.

Northwood, seeded No. 23 in the East, closes the season at 19-10 overall while No 2 seeded Northern Nash advanced into the regional semifinals with a 27-1 mark.

For Northwood coach Matthew Brown, the loss was the end of a special postseason for the Chargers.

“I am very sad and disappointed that this magical run came to an end today, it was a pretty cool feeling to be a part of something so magical as this and the town of Pittsboro, the parents, the community, the school, all rallied behind these boys,” said Brown. “This morning, the parents organized a caravan to follow the bus up to Northern Nash. We even had a police escort leading us to the highway from school. If you ever have watched the movie ‘Hoosiers,’ that’s what it felt like when they made their run. I am from Indiana and grew up dreaming of these moments, and this was as close to a Hoosier feel that you will ever get.”

Unfortunately, that storybook ending in the movie “Hoosiers” did not translate to the court on Saturday night in Rocky Mount as the Chargers fell behind 18-3 after one period of play and could not complete the comeback despite a valiant rally which saw the locals cut the deficit to one point on three occasions in the third quarter.

”I knew we weren’t going to give up, and I knew we were going to go on a run and get settled into the game,” added Brown. ”It seemed like whenever we had the momentum or made a run and had a chance to either tie the game or go up, Northern Nash would come down and either hit a big shot or get a big steal.”

Northern Nash’s Darquez Flowers hit a 10-foot jumper at the 7:44 mark of the second to extend the Knights lead to 20-3. Flowers would score all eight points for the hosts in the stanza.

But behind six points from Deuce Powell and four more from Aaron Ross, the Chargers used a 15-8 spurt in the second period to draw within 26-18 at the half.

Northwood would go on a 9-2 run to start the second half behind four points form Jalen McAfee and a trey from Alex Snively to close the gap to 28-27 with 5:51 remaining in the third.

Tarod Drake would score six points in the third to push the Knights back in front 39-33 at the end of three, and Devante Wiggins would pumped in 12 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth, including six clutch foul shots in the waning minutes, to clinch the 58-52 victory for Northern Nash, now winners of 27 in a row.

Powell led Northwood with 19 points, five rebounds and an assist, while Ross chipped in 14 points, four boards and three assists, McAfee 11 points and 10 rebounds, Snively five points, two rebounds and an assist, and Jack Thompson nine boards.

Northern Nash was led by its four seniors which scored 50 of the teams 58 points, including the 20 by Wiggins. Flowers followed up with 13 points for the Knights while Sam Page added nine, and Brown eight.

“Northern Nash was a great team. They had an awesome environment and a great student section,” said Brown. “I think it is big for our guys to be in this type of environment going into next year. We have everyone coming back.”

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