The Chapel Hill boys’ basketball team ended its two-game losing streak with a 55-52 win over Northern Vance on Thursday.
The Tigers (8-7) showed no signs of rust in their first game in a week, as they led 14-4 after one quarter of play.
“We haven’t been able to practice or play in a while it feels like,” Chapel Hill coach Rodney Carter said. “It hurts us to not have some of our top scorers. I told the boys a win is what we needed and that’s what we got.
Elijah Haynes scored six first-quarter points, while Ben Gaynes and Kai White each knocked down a 3-pointer.
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Trailing 18-4, Northern Vance’s Blake Harper ended a Chapel Hill 11-0 run with a 3-pointer. Later in the quarter, White scored six-straight points for the Tigers to put them ahead 31-10. Northern Vance cut the deficit to 15, but Chapel Hill’s Albert Zhu ended the half with four-straight points to put his team up 36-17 at the break.
Zhu carried his first half momentum into the third quarter with two 3-pointers in the first two minutes. Haynes added an early free throw to put the Tigers up 43-20.
Malik Glasco led the Vikings on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 14.
White would end the Vikings’ run with his third three of the game to put Chapel Hill up 46-29. Glasco answered White with a layup at the other end. The Vikings outscored the Tigers 19-11 in the third quarter.
“The third quarter has been tough on us the last few weeks,” Carter said. “I told the team I want to eliminate half time because we always struggle after the break.”
The Vikings went on a 3-0 run to start the fourth to cut the Tigers’ lead to less than 10 for the first time since the first quarter. Haynes ended the run with a tough layup in the lane. Northern Vance continued its fight throughout and brought the deficit down to seven with 1:51 left in the game.
Zion Copeland cut the lead down to five with a layup and forced a Chapel Hill timeout with 1:13 left in the game. Haynes put the Tigers up six with a free throw and then found Andrew Cook cutting to the basket for a layup with 37 seconds remaining. Northern Vance’s Noah Seward made it 54-49 with a 3-pointer, but the Tigers’ defense closed the game out with a 55-52 victory.
“Those three’s were huge for them, but we did a good job on defense,” Carter said. “Second half we got a little lazy on defense, but we’ll take the win. The kids played hard and that’s what we needed.”
Haynes and White led the Tigers with 15 points each. Malik Glasco and Lehman Ford scored in double-digits for Northern Vance, as they had 13 and 10 respectively.
Northern Vance falls to 8-7 (1-2) with the loss, while Chapel Hill improves to 8-7 (4-1) with the win. The two teams will meet again in Northern Vance on Feb. 3.