Maybe there’s something to look forward to, after all, for Northern Durham.
A lot of the Knights’ fans might have wringing their hands after the departure of two-time PAC-6 player of the year Kentrell Barkely for East Carolina University, but they found plenty to cheer about Tuesday night as Northern rolled past Chapel Hill, 76-50, in a non-conference boys basketball game at Poe Gynatorium.
Chapel Hill came from behind to win the girls’ game, 51-41, but there was no comeback for the Tiger boys in the nightcap. The Knights jumped to a 17-4 lead in the first 8 minutes and never looked back. Northern head coach Ronnie Russell was able to clear his bench after Northern took a 52-28 lead on a 3-pointer by Emmett Tilley with 2:41 left in the third quarter.
Tilley led all scorers with 21 points. Eric Stokes added 16 for Northern (1-0), while Tahj Small added 13 and Tim Bell 10 points.
“We’ve got some good pieces we can put together to be effective, but we don’t have the people to do what Kentrell did,” Russell said. “Nobody can replace KB.”
Elijah Haynes led Chapel Hill (0-1) with 15 points.
Chapel Hill rallies for girls win
Even without the four players Chapel Hill’s girls sent on to college programs last spring after a third straight appearance in the state championship finals, Sherry Norris’s Tigers showed Tuesday that they still know how to play defense.
Down 29-18 at the half, Chapel Hill took advantage of eight Northern turnovers in the game’s final 12 minutes to take a 10-point win.
In his first game as a starter, Chapel Hill senior Anna Grace Kelly scored the last six points of the third quarter as the Tigers got within 32-31. Northern was back in front by four, at 37-33, following a put-back basket by Aquira McIntyre, but Chapel Hill never trailed after a 6-0 run that provided a 39-37 Tiger lead.
Autumn West scored eight points in the game’s last 4 minutes to help Chapel Hill pull away, and the Tigers scored the game’s last nine points, capped by a 3-pointer from Kelly.
“Anna Grace played great tonight,” Norris said. “She hit some big baskets and played great defense.
“I was really please with the whole team effort. We had a lot of sophomores and reserves in there at one stretch, and they got us back in the ball game.”
Mariah Jacobs paced Chapel Hill (1-0) with 15 points, while Grace and Autumn West each had 11 points.
Rhianna Council scored 15 points in the first half, but was held to six in the second. Her 21 points still led all scorers.