North Point boys up­ended by An­napo­lis

Ea­gles lose in 4A East sec­tion fi­nal; Gibbs gets 26 in fi­nal game

Maryland Independent - - Close To History - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­ Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

In the mo­ments af­ter the North Point High School boys bas­ket­ball team was elim­i­nated from post­sea­son play by vis­it­ing An­napo­lis on Thurs­day evening, Ea­gles head coach Jimmy Ball could quickly re­call the first time he saw se­nior Jalen Gibbs at­tend one of his games.

North Point (14-10 over­all) had over­come a slow start to the sea­son that in­cluded five straight losses at one stretch to garner the top seed in the Class 4A East Re­gion Sec­tion II bracket. In a sense, Thurs­day’s 8267 set­back to An­napo­lis al­most mir­rored the sea­son. North Point ral­lied from a 16-point third quar­ter deficit to get within three points twice early in the fourth, but the Ea­gles could never re­gain the ad­van­tage.

When Gibbs was still in el­e­men­tary school, he would fre­quently at­tend North Point games and later talk to Ball about some­day play­ing for the Ea­gles. Dur­ing a sea­son in which he be­came the school’s all-time lead­ing scorer, Gibbs played his un­sched­uled fi­nal game with the Ea­gles on Thurs­day. It was an emo­tional, somber mo­ment for both the North Point se­nior and his coach.

“I re­mem­ber when Jalen would come here and watch us play when he was maybe in the fifth- and six­th­grades,” Ball said. “He told me he wanted to come to North Point and be part of our pro­gram. He had a great se­nior sea­son and a great ca­reer. He’s a spe­cial player. Tonight may not have gone our way, but I’m proud of this team and I’m look­ing for­ward to next sea­son.”

Gibbs, who has yet to com­mit to a col­lege this fall and still has sev­eral vis­its planned over the next two months be­fore fi­nal­iz­ing his de­ci­sion, scored 26 points in a los­ing cause for the Ea­gles on Thurs­day. Fol­low­ing a pro­longed team meet­ing af­ter the game, Gibbs and his team­mates somberly de­parted the locker room for the fi­nal time.

“We knew An­napo­lis had a lot of good shoot­ers,” Gibbs said. “I think I should have started guard­ing [Chris Jones] ear­lier. He re­ally hurt us in the first half with his three-point­ers. I thought I was able to con­tain him in the sec­ond half. It was a tough way to end the sea­son. We did a lot of good things this year. I was proud to be part of the pro­gram.”

An­napo­lis led 35-25 at the half and the Pan­thers twice pushed the lead to 16 points early in the third quar­ter. North Point, how­ever, was hardly about to roll over. Ma­lik Lawrence hit a three-pointer to spark the Ea­gles and later Satchel Ball con­nected on a long range jumper and Gibbs added three buck­ets in­side to bring the hosts within 47-44. An­napo­lis later closed out the con­test on a 10-0 run.

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