Northern Durham’s boys basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak on Friday night with a 59-49 comeback victory at home over Jordan.
Trailing by one heading into the fourth quarter, Northern locked in on both ends of the floor and opened up on a 10-0 run that Jordan couldn’t answer. The Knights put together the run thanks to a combination of defensive pressure and outside shooting.
Northern forced six turnovers to start the fourth before Jordan ever attempted a field goal. They turned those six turnovers in 10 points on the shooting of guard Eric Stokes, who knocked down two big 3-pointers after struggling for beyond the arc all night.
“After he relaxed, he started knocking them down,” said Northern coach Ronnie Russell. “It’s just a matter of him not being so tense, because he’s a good shooter.”
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Despite leading from the opening tip to the third quarter, turnovers were an issue for the Falcons all night. They had 15 in the first half and finished with 31 in the game. In the fourth quarter, they had more turnovers (nine) than field goal attempts (five) when the game was still up for grabs.
Jordan head coach Kim Annas was visibly frustrated with his team and their lack of ball security throughout the game.
“We made a lot of turnovers,” said Annas. “We have to throw the ball to our teammates, and we didn’t do that. Tonight we made passes to Northern. We had more assists for them in the second half than we had for ourselves.”
Jordan led 26-22 at the half on the back of Jalen Richardson and Taquan Bell. The guard-forward combo combined for 16 points in the first half, but had just 9 combined points in the second half. Coach Russell, who wasn’t happy with how his team defended the paint on Tuesday against Hillside, credited his team for their preparation in the past two days.
“We're working on protecting the inside,” said Russell. “First half, we didn’t do that. We reiterated things at halftime and got back to it.”
Northern started off cold from the field, shooting 1 of 13 on 3-pointers in the first half. They were able to get to the basket more in the second half due to the turnovers, but also due to a conscious team effort to getting the ball inside and getting out and running.
Ricky Council III led the team with 20 points.
In the girls game, Northern hung tough in the first half, but eventually 70-28.
The game was a sloppy affair to start, but Jordan head coach Ty Cox expected that given his choices for the starting lineup.
“I started four freshman,” said Cox. “I wanted to give them some experience. My second unit were my normal starters.”
Jordan led by 10 at the half, but given Northern’s 1-16 record coming into the game, that lead didn’t sit well with Cox.
“I had very little to say at halftime, and they understood what that meant,” said Cox.