Clamp­ing down

North Point girls too much for Stone, take lead in Po­tomac Di­vi­sion

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

The North Point girls bas­ket­ball team likes to stick to their bread and but­ter, which is to get out and run the floor in tran­si­tion.

From the open­ing tip of Wed­nes­day night’s South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Po­tomac Di- vi­sion con­test, the Ea­gles’ ball-hawk­ing de­fense led to easy bas­kets and even­tu­ally a con­vinc­ing 74-54 vic­tory over the vis­it­ing Thomas Stone Cougars.

Since a 58-54 loss to Old Mill of Anne Arun­del County in the Wal­dorf Hol­i­day Hoops Clas­sic on Dec. 29, North Point (102, 4-0 SMAC Po­tomac) has won four straight games and is atop the divi- sion stand­ings. It also has beaten ev­ery con­fer­ence team in its path thus far.

The Ea­gles are al­low­ing just 41.5 points to their op­po­nents this season and have held teams to less than 40 points in six of their 10 wins. They have de­feat­ing op­po­nents by a mar­gin of al­most 24 points per game through 12 games.

“In tonight’s game we forced a lot of turnovers and we had layups on the other end,” North Point head coach Michael Ser- pone said. “We still have to clean some things up. We didn’t have our best night.”

North Point took a com- mand­ing 27-12 lead in the first quar­ter and went up 43-21 at half­time, a lead that it did not re­lin­quish for the rest of the game. Stone outscored the Ea­gles 19-16 in the third, but the dam­age was al­ready done in the first half as it trailed 59-40 af­ter three quar­ters.

The Ea­gles had three play­ers in dou­ble fig­ures as se­nior guard Necole Hope, the 1,000-point ca­reer scorer and East Carolina Univer­sity signee, and fresh­man Sy­nia John­son each led the way with 19 points. Sopho­more Latavia Jack­son scored 17 on the night, while Aliyah Bul­lock added seven

points. Kennedy Davis and Se­marra By- num each scored six points in the game.

“We’ve been work­ing re­ally hard and our de­fense leads to our of­fense,” Jack- son said. “It was just a com­plete team ef­fort and a good win. Our chem­istry has been there we still have room for im- prove­ment.”

Hope added her thoughts on the Ea- gles per­for­mance.

“We run all the time in prac­tice and we are in shape. We are small, so we have to out­run teams and re­bound,” she said. “Tonight, we still gave up too many easy bas­kets and had some turnovers. Our tran­si­tion de­fense has to get bet­ter.”

Stone (9-4, 4-1) led 4-0 early in the first quar­ter, but it strug­gled to get a flow of­fen­sively af­ter that and could not get any clean looks at the bas­ket.

The Cougars also had three play­ers in dou­ble fig­ures as se­nior guard Oc­tavia Hawkins, also a re­cent 1,000-point scorer, led the way with 19 points. Ju­nior Sasha Fran­cis fin­ished with 16 points and se­nior Rya Nel­son added 11 points.

“We just came out flat and we didn’t ex­e­cute the things that we nor­mally do,” Stone head coach Jer­mel Es­calera said. “We didn’t play like our­selves and we have to cor­rect some mis­takes and move. North Point was able to score a lot of bas­kets in­side off of our turnovers.”

North Point is sched­uled to travel to La Plata tonight, while Stone is sched­uled to host McDonough. Both are di­vi­sion con­tests with tip-off set for 6:30 tonight. Twit­ter: @aj­ma­son301

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON

North Point’s Latavia Jack­son shoots a floater down the lane in Wed­nes­day night’s 74-54 vic­tory over the vis­it­ing Thomas Stone Cougars in a SMAC Po­tomac Di­vi­sion girls bas­ket­ball con­test.

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON

Thomas Stone’s Mikayla Proc­tor looks to drib­ble around Kennedy Davis of North Point in Wed­nes­day night’s SMAC Po­tomac Di­vi­sion girls bas­ket­ball con­test. North Point won the con­test 74-54.

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