PITTSBORO — Northwood continued its unbeaten start to conference play Friday night with some sharp shooting and strong rebounding advantage, overcoming a second-half offensive deficit to defeat …
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PITTSBORO — Northwood continued its unbeaten start to conference play Friday night with some sharp shooting and strong rebounding advantage, overcoming a second-half offensive deficit to defeat Southern Durham 43-35.
The Lady Chargers (9-4 overall, 3-0 conference) got 14 points from TeKeyah Bland in the first half to get off to a 30-16 lead at the break. They recorded just 13 second-half points, but managed to withstand a late Southern Durham rally to escape Lewis Norwood Gymnasium with a sloppy Big Eight 3A Conference triumph to improve to 6-1 at home and snap a six-game losing streak to its northern neighbors.
Bland finished with 16 points while McKenna Snively notched 10 points for the Lady Chargers, who shot 47 percent (17-of-36) from the floor and held a 27-17 advantage on the boards to help offset turning the ball over 28 times.
Amyah Ingram topped the Lady Spartans with 10 points and Taylor Robinson added nine as Southern Durham (7-4, 1-1) connected on just 22 percent (11-of-49) of its field goal attempts while committing 21 turnovers.
Although pleased to get the victory, Northwood coach Cameron Vernon admitted it almost appeared his team was playing to lose at the end.
“After giving ourselves a nice cushion at the break, I told our girls we wanted to be patient offensively in the second half, make Southern Durham’s defense work and try to force them out of position to get high-percentage shots,” said Vernon. “But we became too passive and were content to pass the ball instead of looking to score as no one wanted to take over in clinch time. While we were able to hold on down the stretch when Southern Durham made a comeback, we need to cut back the number of turnovers, learn how to better handle our opponent’s pressure and come ready to play every night.”
Lady Spartans’ coach Teddy McKoy said one of his squad’s biggest problems was not playing team basketball.
“We were too selfish on the court, anxious to take quick shots without considering ball movement,” said McKoy. “On the other hand, Northwood shared the ball and played well together as a unit. (Bland) hurt us early inside by scoring eight of their first 10 points to give them the momentum at the outset while we missed a lot of layups over the course of the evening. We had good looks at the basket but our shots just wouldn’t go in, while Northwood’s rebounding generally limited us to one shot when we weren’t turning the ball over.”
After Bland’s early offensive production provided the Lady Chargers with a 10-4 lead five-and-a-half minutes into the game, Southern Durham battled back to pull even at 10-all on Robinson’s conventional three-point play with 1:20 left in the opening stanza.
But Northwood countered with two Jillian McNaught free throws and Snively’s trey from the right corner over the last 57 seconds of the period to fashion a five-point advantage after one quarter.
The Lady Chargers extended their lead to 23-12 midway through the second frame following Bland’s put-back in the paint before outscoring the visitors 7-4 over the remainder of the stanza to carry a 14-point advantage into halftime.
After back-to-back Caitlin Bailey buckets to begin the third quarter gave Northwood its biggest lead of the evening at 34-16 with 6:09 to go in the period, neither team would register a basket the rest of the stanza. Three Robinson charity tosses and one by Bailey completed the scoring in the frame, which ended with the Lady Chargers ahead 35-19.
But with Zatayah Lindsay and Ingram scoring four points apiece over the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, the Lady Spartans cut their deficit in half prior to edging within 37-31 on Ingram’s layup with 2:12 left in the contest.
However, Northwood was able to regain a double-digit advantage following a pair of Natalie Bell foul shots and Snively’s jumper off the left baseline with 35.2 seconds showing on the clock and never let Southern Durham get any closer than the final margin in the time remaining.