FORT WAYNE – It didn’t quite turn in an eye blink, this neighborhood brawl between two schools who’d seen so much of each other this season. Call it two eye blinks. Or three.
One, two three-pointers from Northrop guard Brenton Scott, and there went a hard-won North Side lead midway through the second quarter.
One, two, three turnovers by the Redskins, and here came the unraveling in earnest, the Bruins running off 10 straight points in a minute, running off 17 of 18, the launch point for what eventually became a thorough 90-70 Northrop rout in the first semifinal game of the 4A Carroll Sectional on Friday night.
North Side (14-6) won the SAC battle. Northrop (18-7) won the sectional war, going away.
“We had a couple of breakdowns, but we were able to keep our composure, regain something and get a big victory,” said Northrop coach Barak Coolman, whose Bruins get DeKalb, a 46-45 winner over Columbia City in the second semifinal, at 7:30 p.m. today in the championship game. “Obviously, this is what you want to do at sectional time.”
And if it happened because the Scotts again were a migraine times two – Brenton went for 29 points and Bryson for 27, 56 of Northrop’s total – that was only the fancy packaging. What happened on the other end of the floor was the guts of the thing.
“Everything flowed from the defense,” Brenton Scott said. “When we started picking up our defense, we started making shots. Our energy started to change and everything just started falling in place. Our defense was the key to this game.”
It certainly did its part in shaking the Bruins awake, just when it seemed they were about to doze off for good.
A 10-2 run helped launch them to a 23-15 lead with 1:40 to play in the first quarter, but then the drift began. Across the next 5:40, they scored just three points while North piled on 15, and suddenly the Bruins were looking up from a 30-26 hole with four minutes to play in the first half.
And then, just as suddenly, they weren’t.
A three by Brenton Scott at 3:41 kicked off a 12-0 run across the next 91 seconds, and by the 1:20 mark the run had grown to 17-1 and Northrop led 43-31. It was 48-35 at halftime, and North never got closer than eight again.
Dwight Richards led North with 20 points, and Tre’Vion Crews and Nigel Jones finished with 13. Crews, North’s point guard, picked up three fouls in the first three minutes, a critical element in the Redskins’ 19 turnovers.
“I was pleased with our poise tonight,” said Coolman, whose team came into the sectional having lost four of its last five games. “We showed a lot of poise, didn’t let a lot of things get under our skin. We were able to control the game, and once we got a lead we did a good job of playing with the lead. That’s something we’ve kind of struggled with; we had some losses earlier this year because we didn’t play well with the lead.”