Few people want to avoid this week’s predicted snow as much as Chapel Hill boys basketball coach Bill Walton.
Now that his team seems to have found a game plan that works for the young Tigers, he wants to side-step any delays and keep things rolling.
Following on the heels of a 55-48 win by the Chapel Hill girls team over Northern Durham, Walton’s Tigers used a 1-3-1 zone to slow up the Knights and hit 11 timely 3-pointers for a 48-46 win Tuesday.
“We needed that. That was a big, big win,” Walton said outside the Chapel Hill locker room.
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Ironically, the winning basket was set up by a missed 3-pointer.
With the score knotted 46-46 after a basket down low by Northern’s Darius Robinson with 1:10 left on the clock, Chapel Hill missed a 3-point try with 55 seconds remaining. Northern held for what it thought would be a last shot, but lost the chance when an errant pass to Timothy Bell at the baseline sailed over the endline.
The Tigers called timeout to set up a final shot, and Chapel Hill tried an NBA-range 3-pointer that fell short of the basket as the clock neared 0:01. The home crowd’s groans turned to screams of delight as sophomore Max Conolly dove for the ball under the basket and with one motion lofted it for a layup at the horn sounded.
“That looked like N.C. State in 1983,” Walton said, referring to a put-back dunk by Lorenzo Charles that gave the Wolfpack the 1983 NCAA championship.
Tuesday’s nonconference win snapped a four-game losing streak for Chapel Hill (6-11) and avenged a 76-50 loss at Northern Durham in the season opener for both teams on Nov. 17.
“We’ve had some trouble against bigger, faster, more experienced teams,” Walton said “Even in our losses, our guys played their guts out . This was gratifying for the players.”
Northern fell to 12-5 with its second straight loss and its third in four games.
“We’ve just been playing sloppy,” Northern coach Ronnie Russell said. “We need to regroup and tighten up our game before we get back into (PAC-6) conference games.”
Chapel Hill hit 11 of 18 3-point tries. Chapel Hill sophomore Elijah Haynes hit five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 16 points, while A.J. Thompson hit three treys and had 15 points. Connolly, who made two 3-pointers of his own, added 12 points.
Robinson 10 points for Northern, though three other Knights had at least eight in the low-scoring game – Jalen Johnson (9), Emmett Tilley (8) and T.J. Bell (8).
Chapel Hill girls bounce back from Southern loss
Scores from beyond the arc were virtually nonexistent in Tuesday’s girls game at Chapel Hill.
The Tigers tried nine 3-pointers and hit two (22 percent) – one each for Mariah Jacobs and Alliyah Chaplin. Chapel Hill’s shooting from inside the arc was better, 20 of 43 tries (46.5 percent).
Alliyah Chaplin ended up with 15 points and 10 rebounds for her eighth straight double-double for the Tigers. Jacobs added 13 points, Ti’Mia Chaplin 12, and Autumn West 11 points along with a game-high six assists.
Northern’s Rhianna Council led all scorers with 24 points – hitting 6-of-15 shots from the field, including two 3-pointers, and 10-of-12 from the line.
That was good enough to keep an even poorer-shooting Northern team on the ropes most of the night. The Ladies made just 11 of 40 attempts (27.5 percent).
“The thing I’m most disappointed with right now is that I don’t think we played with passion, and we’ve got to play with passion and a sense of urgency when we are on the floor,” Chapel Hill coach Sherry Norris said. “We’ve got to value every possession of the ball. We’re not doing that, and we’ve got to do a better job of that.”
Chapel Hill (12-5) led the entire game. The loss broke a six-game win streak for Northern (7-10), which is projected to be in the same 3A conference with Chapel Hill after 2017’s state high school realignment.
With Chapel Hill leading 23-20 at the half, Jacobs and T’Mia Chaplin each scored four points in a 9-3 run the Tigers used to open the third quarter.
Chapel Hill took its biggest lead of the game, 34-26, on a jumped by Kolby Levesque with 4:10 left in the third. Northern got back within 41-38 following a putback basket by Eliniya Black with 5:20 to play. Chapel Hill employed a four-corners spread for the final 5 minutes of the game and scored on it last eight possessions to fend off the Ladies.