Ti Pinnix notched 21 points, four assists and four steals, but in the end, a strong Northern Durham team led by Kentrell Barkley’s 23 points proved to be too much for Northwood, as the Chargers lost 70-54 Thursday night at Northwood.
Leading up to the game there was uncertainty about how the Chargers would fare against a strong opponent. Furthermore, how they would handle 6-foot-5 senior forward and Eastern Carolina commit Barkley.
The Chargers came out strong in the first half and the teams were knotted at 13 at the end of the first quarter. Teams traded blows back and forth until late in the second quarter when Barkley drove down the lane and laid it up to make it 23-20 Northern. Northern would go on a 10-2 run to finish the half, and from there never looked back.
“The key to the game was the little things on our end,” head coach Alex Hart said. “We went toe to toe with a really good 4A basketball team. The first half was a testament to the kind of guys we have. We had a couple of lapses in the second half. When doing the little things is part of our DNA, we will be great.”
Despite what looks like a disappointing loss, there were a couple of things positive that can be taken from this game. Barkley went for 37 in that game and was held in check for most of the first half, only scoring 8 points. He was guarded for most of the first half by senior forward Kadarus Rone.
“There is a furiousity to Kadarus that you can’t describe. He really played hard tonight,” Hart said.
Rone was sent to the bench late in the first half with three fouls. Barkley did most of his damage with Rone on the bench, collecting 15 in the second half.
“There’s a reason why [Barkley] doesn’t have to pay for college. He has a lot of energy on the court, and attacks the glass well. We wanted to be near him and try to box him out,” Hart said.
Additionally, in this game you saw some good post play from junior Chaz Bailey, who came up with four points and four rebounds.
“Chaz played a heck of a game. That is the best I’ve seen him rebound thus far,” Hart said.
The Chargers have played a very fierce non-conference schedule so far and competed well. This sets them up for a tough conference schedule.
“I always joke with the team that if the best team in the state calls us and wants us to play at the jailhouse, we’ll play,” Hart said. “These kinds of games make you tougher. These games shows how good we can be and how we have to get better. I’m proud of their effort in their in all of the games so far.”
The Chargers drop to 1-3 with the loss but are at the part of the schedule that is most important, conference play. In order to do well the Chargers well need a continued support and crowd at games.
“[The Nuthouse] That was awesome, this is our team. The turnout has been awesome every game so far. We need them every game, loud, early and hostile.”
The Chargers will be entering conference play Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Chapel Hill.
“We need to stop giving second chance points and finish the game in order to win in conference,” Pinnix said.