The Northwood girls basketball team lost its home opener to Apex Friendship on Nov. 28, 51-58.
This was Northwood’s first regular season loss at home since Dec. 30, 2019 when Apex Friendship beat the Chargers, 60-50.
This time, a poor shooting performance, coupled with an explosive 20-point first half from the Patriots’ Jasmine Nivar, put the Chargers in a hole too deep to climb out of down the stretch.
Northwood only made six of its 24 shot attempts in the first half, scoring seven of its first 22 points from the free-throw line.
“We were just kind of slow on the offensive end,” head coach Kerri Snipes said. “I don’t think we were settled in very well…First half, I think we were a little shocked with their intensity, and then we just weren’t combating that on the offensive end.”
The Chargers kept attacking through the struggle, though, especially senior guard Skylar Adams who took a team-high 10 shots in the first half and got fouled enough for six points at the stripe.
Yet, the Chargers didn’t help themselves defensively. Throughout the opening half, Northwood allowed Apex Friendship to penetrate its zone for mid-range and layup opportunities.
The Patriots went on a tear in the second quarter, grabbing Northwood’s misses and turning them into quick twos in transition. Nivar scored 12 points in the quarter alone and helped push the Apex Friendship lead to 13 at the half.
“(Nivar)’s a great player, and we knew that going into the (game),” Snipes said. “Second half, we just said we have to keep trying to stop her, keep up that intensity defensively (and) have some other girls step over and help.”
Northwood implemented the full-court press in the second half. Traps and heavy ball pressure rattled the Patriots into turnovers which created quick offense for Northwood.
The adjustment led to a run from the Chargers that brought them within six points just a few minutes into the third quarter.
“I think we just picked it up in the second half overall as a team,” Snipes said. “That allowed us to get a little bit of momentum to swing back our way.”
The run wasn’t enough to bring the Chargers all the way back though, as Nivar and the Patriots continued to make shots in the game’s final minutes to retain the lead.
Despite a last minute effort to once again bring the deficit to within single-digits, Northwood’s rally came too late as the team lost momentum and ground with intentional fouling.
“We were resilient tonight,” Snipes said. “They didn’t give up. So, we’re going to learn a lot from this and hopefully put together some things we can work on to be able to grow for the future.”