North Point boys surge past Hurricanes to open season
Typically when a new boys basketball season begins, the expectation is that the North Point Eagles will be a major factor in the Southern Mar yland Athletic Conference race.
Whereas that could prove to again be the case, it isn’t necessarily a typical year at the season’s start for the Eagles.
“We have one returning starter, one returning rotation guy and 13 new guys,” North Point head coach Jimmy Ball said after the Eagles’ season opener on Monday night. “We have to find a way to take what we have and make it happen.”
On Monday against the visiting Huntingtown Hurricanes, the Eagles were able to do just that, overcoming an eight-point halftime deficit to top their guests 73-66 in the SMAC crossover contest.
Malik Lawrence sparked the second-half surge, scoring 13 points in the third quarter to lead North Point from a 29-21 halftime deficit to a 48-43 lead by quarter’s end. In the fourth, Jalen
Gibbs took charge, scoring 13 points over the final eight minutes to help the hosts nail down the season-opening win.
“Coach was on our butt when we got in the locker room,” said Gibbs, who finished with a game-high 26 points. “I had a bad first half, so I was just thinking, ‘I have to get to the hole,’ because I couldn’t hit any outside shots. Malik started off the intensity. We fed off his en- ergy.”
North Point (1-0 overall) opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run to immediately carve into the Huntingtown advantage. It wasn’t until a threepoint play by Gibbs with 3
minutes 53 seconds left in the period that the Eagles finally pulled back even at 37, while a Gibbs dunk 16 seconds later put North Point in front 39-37.
Huntingtown (0-1) evened things back up on Jordan Bell’s bucket, but Terrence Gunthrope hit 1 of 2 free throws to put the hosts back up 40-39 before Lawrence knocked down a three-pointer and scored an additional basket to push the Ea- gles back out to a 45-39 edge.
Huntingtown, on a pair of free throws by Nemo Stewart and a basket by DJ Hopkins, pulled back to 45-43, but Lawrence’s three-pointer at the buzzer left the Eagles with a 48-43 edge heading into the final frame.
“Second half, we came out fast,” said Lawrence, who finished with 22 points. “We were
hyped up and ready. We actual- ly got a good rotation with our bench players and we kept the flow going. We struggled a lit- tle bit defensively, which we’ll work on in practice tomorrow, but overall we finished the game well and came out with a victory.”
While the hosts pushed the lead out to 11 points on a couple of occasions, Huntingtown consistently rallied to pull back to within a couple possessions. But ultimately the Hurricanes were never able to finish the climb back.
“We have to play a full game,” Huntingtown head coach Josh Pratt said. “I think the first five minutes of the third quarter, we held them to 21 points at halftime, and I thought we did a great job defensively. Then we
lost our intensity. Some of that might have been their pressure, but I just think we lost focus for about five minutes. ... We just have to learn from it and get better from it. The best thing is we play Wednesday and Friday, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Daquan Watts scored 15 points to lead the Hurricanes on Monday night, while Davaughn Reid scored 14. DJ Hopkins scored 12, while Charlie Weber also hit double digits with 10. The Hurricanes are scheduled to host Thomas Stone tonight and travel to St. Charles on Friday. Both games are slated to tip at 6:30.
On the other bench, Gunthrope joined Gibbs and Law- rence in double figures for the Eagles with 10 points,
while Satchell Ball chipped in with nine points on three three-pointers. North Point is scheduled to travel to Chopticon at 6:30 tonight and will host Gwynn Park at 7 p.m. Friday.
North Point may be smaller and less experienced than the average Eagles squad has been in recent years, but Ball is looking for the team to make consistent progress as the season unfolds.
“As long as we play hard, play aggressive, I told them it’s a process,” he said. “We’ll take our lumps at the beginning, but by the of the year hopefully ... We haven’t won a regional championship in three years, so that’s a goal. We’re small, so we’re going to have to fight, scratch and claw.”
North Point’s Malik Lawrence scored 22 points, 13 coming in the third quarter, to help the Eagles to a 73-66 season-opening win over the visiting Huntingtown Hurricanes on Monday night.