Rontavious McClure, a star player on the Northwestern football team, enjoyed the school’s gridiron success: the Trojans were runners up in Class-AAAA, Division-II.
But despite the football success, McClure and his football teammates who also plays basketball were pointing to Tuesday night’s home game against Boiling Springs.
“We just felt excited and anxious to get out there and play; we have been waiting on it,” McClure said. “Coach told us to just come out and play hard and that is what we did tonight.”
McClure, a 6-foot-5 center, did just that with 23 points, leading the Trojans to an 83-65 victory over the Bulldogs at the Northwestern gymnasium.
Northwestern, which entered with a 0-6 record, used the athleticism of players from the football team to dominate the interior, and also to run the floor in transition.
Mike Gossett, coach at Northwestern, said that obviously his team has plenty of work to do with the addition on several football players on the roster. However, he liked what he saw in the first game with the full team.
“I just told them to play hard, loose, and just have fun,” Gossett said. “We did not go over many technical things as we just had a couple of practices (with football players).
“They went out there and did just that. Of course, we will get better with more practices and games under our belt.”
In addition to McClure, Mustafa Love and Mason Rudolph, also football standouts, made immediate impacts with double-figures with 18 and 10 points, respectively.
Boiling Springs, which defeated Northwestern by four last week, trailed by one, 31-30, when guard Jared Wallace nailed a 3-point jumper with 1:29 remaining in the first half.
Sparked by consecutive long-range jumpers from Will Chitwood, the Trojans went on a 10-1 run to seize control of the contest, 41-31.
McClure opened the third quarter with six unanswered points, giving Northwestern a 47-31 advantage. The Trojans maintained control, 56-44, at the end of the third quarter, and used two thunderous dunks from Love and McClure during a 10-4 run to open the fourth quarter.
Boiling Springs did hang around with a 13-point deficit, 66-53, with 4:00 remaining. However, the Trojans erupted with 17 unanswered points to eventually lead by 30, 83-53.
The Trojans will welcome Dorman, the state’s second-ranked team, to the Northwestern gymnasium this Friday night in a key non-region contest.
Northwestern 83, Boiling Springs 55
Boiling Springs — Jared Wallace 6, J.L. Hill 7, Daniel Thompson 10, Ricky Netherton 2, Collin Reed 10, Mason Sanders 7, Ryan Betsil 2, Marcellis Sims 6, Adria Bassfield 3, Cedetria Robertson 2.
Northwestern — Rontavious McClure 23, Mason Rudolph 10, LaThomas Long 4, Mustafa Love 18, Will Chitwood 6, Jaroy Feely 6, Clenzo Ross 5, Peyton Sosebee 6, Manzi Hill 5,
3-pointers — Boiling Springs 2 (Wallace, Hill), Northwestern 2 (Chitwood 2). Team fouls — Northwestern 17, Boiling Springs 25. Fouled out — Reed, Sanders (BS).
Records: Northwestern 1-6.