North Point boys upended by Annapolis
Eagles lose in 4A East section final; Gibbs gets 26 in final game
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.