Kristian Eanes went for 21 points and Shontai Totten was aggressive throughout, but in the end the Chargers fell 71-59 to top-ranked Chapel Hill Tuesday night in Chapel Hill.
Alliyah Chaplin, Raziyah Farrington and Tamia Eatmon all had 14 points to lead a very talented Chapel Hill team. Early in the game the Chargers struggled to break Chapel Hill’s press.
“Their press was very good,” coach Cameron Vernon said. “We played well and we converted a lot to break the press in the second half. I thought the key to the game was second-chance points.”
Despite a lot of early turnovers, the Chargers were only down eight at the half (38-30) thanks to many Totten drives down the lane leading to quality shots for Eanes and Bryn Aydt. Aydt had nine points in the first half but was quiet after that, only scoring two in the entire second half.
“Bryn and Kristian stepped up in the first half as they have all year,” Vernon said. “I thought Chapel Hill really locked up on Bryn in the second half and took her out of the game.”
Northwood cut it to 55-53 early in the fourth quarter but was unable to pull ahead. The Chargers committed a few turnovers late in the fourth quarter and in the end that cost them the game.
“[We need to improve on] rebounding and taking care of the basketball; we need to be mentally tough, and we need leadership to step up,” Vernon said.
Totten played aggressively throughout and was the spark-plug for the Chargers. She was hustling, diving after balls and driving down the lane the whole game to keep Northwood in the game.
“These are all her friends out here. She has grown up playing AAU ball with these [Chapel Hill] girls,” Vernon said. “Especially with it being her senior year, she wants to come out, do well and win.”
Chapel Hill is the defending state champion and is loaded top to bottom with talent, including a few college commitments such as Farrington (Western Carolina). Despite playing a very talented team, the Chargers were in the game, only falling behind in the end due to late turnovers. The Chargers gave Chapel Hill a ball game and competed throughout. Despite a strong showing, Vernon isn’t satisfied.
“We can’t use the young excuse anymore. Even though we competed, this isn’t a moral victory,” Vernon said. “We want to win.”
The Northwood girls have a non-conference game away at Carrboro, Thursday at 6 p.m.. Friday, the girls move back to Conference play against Cardinal Gibbons at 6 p.m. at Northwood.
– Jacob Sipe