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Northern Durham boys, Chapel Hill girls lead N&O basketball rankings

The Northern Durham boys and the Chapel Hill girls lead The News & Observer’s high school basketball rankings as teams head toward the holiday break.

The Chapel Hill girls are one of four undefeated teams in the girls rankings.

Northern Durham’s only loss was to Durham Mount Zion, 72-68.

“We’ve played pretty well,” Northern coach Ronnie Russell said. “We are kind of quick and we have very good chemistry. We’ve a good bench and we’ve been getting a good effort.

“We’ve handled the first half of the season well and will be getting into the (Piedmont Athletic 4A) season when we get back from the Christmas break.”

Ricky Council, a 6-foot-5 senior, leads the Knights with about 26 points per game. Kentrell Barkley, also 6-5, had 12 double-doubles in 2012-13 and is averaging about 18 points this season.

Point guard T.J. Crutchfield and 6-2 Jaquan Harris do most of the ball-handling and 6-4 Dillon Leobic works on the board and on the perimeter.

“We don’t have a really big man so we have to all rebound,” Russell said.

Northern Durham will play in a tournament at Clinton High next week. Broughton and Clayton, the Nos. 3 and 4 boys teams will play in the Holiday Invitational next week. Sanderson, No. 13, also is in the field at Broughton.

The Holiday Invitational girls bracket, which will be played at Cary Academy, includes No. 1 Chapel Hill, No. 2 Cary, No. 4 Broughton, No. 6 Hillside and No. 11 Durham Riverside.