Unable to hold on
Eagles lead at half, but fall to Mustangs in Classic
In the nightcap of the DMV Tip-Off Classic on Saturday, the North Point boys basketball team were able control the first half as it led by double digits, taking a 38-27 edge to the half versus the visiting Bishop Mc- Namara.
However, the Eagles were unable to maintain their stance in the final two quarters as the Mustangs of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference dominated on the rebounding end and second-chance points en route to a 69-64 victory over the Eagles at North Point High School in Waldorf.
It was the first win of the sea- son for the private school outfit based in Forestville.
“We’ve played a tough schedule so far and we are just trying to get the kids ready for the hos- tile environments of the WCAC, but we also wanted to schedule tough games out of the confer- ence,” said McNamara head coach Martin Keithline. “We have to understand this is a grind process. Our record may not indicate how good we are right now, but we are learning how to win.”
After outscoring the Eagles 27-12 in the third quarter, McNamara led 60-53 with 5 minutes 27 seconds left in the game, but North Point later came to within 61-58 with under a minute remaining.
Senior guard Jalen Gibbs, who finished with a game-high 27 points, attempted a three to tie the game, but the shot hit the front of the rim. The Ea- gles had several chances to tie the game or cut the lead to one point, but could not come any closer and were forced to foul to stop the clock.
In the final seconds, 6-foot-9 forward Makhi Mitchell hit a pair of free throws to seal the game.
“Me and my brother work well together and we communicate with our team to get the ball inside to us,” said Makhi Mitchell.
With a starting lineup that featured all sophomores, the Mustangs were spearheaded by twin brothers Makhi (17 points, 17 rebounds) and Makhel Mitchell (12 points, 19 rebounds), who both delivered double-double performances.
Guard Johnathan McGriff finished with 14 points, while Garrett Kirkland and Brandon Joyner with eight points each for McNamara.
“At halftime we went back into the locker room and talked and we came out a different team in the second half,” said Makhel Mitchell, who finished with five blocks. “We just kept crashing the boards and played hard. North Point was a tough team. We just wanted to get some key stops and we did that.”
North Point led 19-16 in the first quarter and scored 21 points in the second quarter. Gibbs paced the Eagles in the first two quarters with 15 points during that span.
For the season, Gibbs is currently leading SMAC and is third in the area in scoring at 31.4 points a game.
“McNamara had some size and they were able to get a lot of second-chance shots,” said Gibbs. “We played a good game. The shots that we were hitting in the first half just didn’t go down in the second half.”
North Point, which dropped to 3-3 after Monday’s 79-57 loss to Potomac of Prince George’s County, shot just 21 of 62 (33.9 percent) for the game and made just seven field goals out of 32 at- tempts in the second half.
“They had too many second shots and we didn’t close off the middle when they penetrated,” said North Point head coach Jimmy Ball, whose team scored 27 points off of 18 McNamara turnovers. “This was a good ball game for us at the beginning of the year, we just have to learn from it. We have to rebound better because we are small, we had some chances to take some charges and we didn’t. Hats off to McNamara, but we will get better.”
North Point’s Malik Lawrence finished with 17 points, while Satchel Ball added 12 points.
North Point senior guard Jalen Gibbs drives to basket as Johnathon McGriff of Bishop McNamara defends in Saturday’s DMV Tip-Off Classic at North Point High School in Waldorf. Gibbs finished with a game-high 27 points in the 69-64 loss to the Mustangs
North Point sophomore guard Malik Lawrence finished with 17 points, nailing three three-pointers in the 69-64 loss to Bishop McNamara in Saturday night’s DMV Tip-Off Classic at North Point High School in Waldorf.