DALTONnow.com

January 14, 2014

Prep basketball: Bruins put it together, top Raiders

Through the first month-and-a-half of the high school basketball season, Northwest Whitfield’s boys team has battled injuries, all-star football competition and suspensions keeping players off of the court at one time or another.

It’s led to a team that has been inconsistent at best and completely out of sync at worst.

But with more of the pieces of the puzzle coming together, more cohesion is starting to show on the court, where once one part of the game might have shined as another suffered.

On Tuesday night against county rival Southeast, the collective was certainly greater than any one facet of the game.

Three different players scored in double digits and the defense clamped down and took away anything resembling an inside game by the Raiders to allow Northwest to cruise to a 65-34 victory in a Sub-region 7B-4A contest.

The Bruins (8-8, 2-1) bounced back from Friday night’s loss to Dalton in a big way.

“We just came off of a big loss, and now we want to start a streak,” said Northwest senior forward Andy Whisenant, who scored a game-high 18 points. “I feel like this team is getting there. We are starting to be a little more comfortable and finding our roles. Usually that happens a little bit earlier in the season, but definitely it was there.”

Whisenant and guard Tevin McDaniel both played in football all-star games over the holidays and missed practice time and games, while injuries have taken game time away from others. Tanner Bailey scored 13 points in his return to the court after serving a two-game suspension for violation of team rules after a misdemeanor arrest over the holiday break. Caleb Storey, who was arrested at the same time as Bailey, has one more game to serve on his four-game suspension.

But the players who were there for the Bruins certainly clamped down defensively.

Southeast scored 10 points in the first quarter to trail by six and managed just five points in the second. Ty Pendley’s 3-pointer with more than two minutes remaining in the first half was the last bucket for the Raiders until Noah Ramsey scored in the post with 3:50 remaining in the game. During that stretch, Southeast (4-12, 1-2) managed just nine points, all at the free throw line.

“We had a great defensive effort, and it was a matter of the whole team all playing together and covering for each other,” Northwest coach Ryan Richards said. “We shut down their perimeter game, and that helped us with some transition baskets as well. We’ve had a lot of back and forth with our personnel trying to find our groove. We are starting to find that because of our defense.”

Cyrus Addison added 16 points for Northwest and was part of the reason the Raiders had little inside presence in the game. Pendley, who played at Northwest last year before transferring to Southeast, had 14 to lead the Raiders.

Northwest girls 79, Southeast 37: Four different players scored in double digits for the Lady Bruins (13-3, 3-0), who shot 56 percent from behind the 3-point line.

Lady Bruins coach Greg Brown said it was the inside game that opened up the outside.

“This was the first game that we concentrated on establishing our post game first,” Brown said. “That made such a big difference in getting our guards good looks at the basket.”

Halle Ford led the team with 14 points, while Kerrigan King and Karli Williams each scored 12. Mary Kate Allen also had 10 points.

Southeast’s Cricket Wyatt, who scored 13 of the first 15 points for the Lady Raiders (11-5, 1-2), led all scorers with 15.

Northwest JV boys 43, Southeast 19: Trey Walker scored 13 points to pace the Bruins (8-2) in the win over the Raiders, who had no single player with more than four points.

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