The Northwestern Trojans turned in a solid performance and defeated the Charlotte United Christian Warriors 58-43 to claim the title in the 14th annual Lindberg Moody Holiday Classic Monday night at Northwestern High School.
Clenzo Ross, who was named as the tournament’s MVP, led the Trojans with 22 points.
Northwestern led 19-13 after one period thanks to four baskets from behind the three-point arc. Charlotte United came back behind seven points by Stephen Adams to trim it to 29-26 by intermission.
The Trojans started the second half with a 10-0 run to take a 39-26 advantage. Ross had four of his points in that scoring spree.
When Ross scored on a layup with 1:02 left in the third quarter, the Trojans were in front 41-29. The Warriors’ Stehan Kostic’s layup with six seconds remaining in the period cut it to 41-33 heading to the final quarter.
When Kostic scored on a layup the lead was down to 41-35, but Will Chitwood, who finished with eight points, drained a three-pointer and the Trojans were in front 44-35.
Kostic’s two free throws with 3:02 to play cut the Northwestern lead to 49-41, but the Warriors would get no closer.
Northwestern made seven of eight free throws down the stretch and won going away.
“We played a smothering defense in the second half,” said Northwestern head coach Larry Davis. “We were very disciplined tonight especially down the stretch.”
The tournament title was the first for Northwestern since 2007, and Davis was happy with the way his players responded.
“We played together as a team tonight,” Davis said. “We made some adjustments in the second half, and our players did a good job of executing what we wanted.”
Manzi Hill and Chitwood joined Ross on the All-Tournament team.
Michael Baez led Charlotte United Christian with 15 points, and Adams chipped in nine.
Nation Ford finishes 5th
The Nation Ford Falcons won for the third time in the tournament with a 65-59 decision over Oakbrook for fifth place.
Nation Ford took the early lead and held it for most of the game. The Falcons led by three at the end of the first period and 35-30 at halftime.
Oakbrook rallied from nine points down in the final three minutes of the third quarter to tie the contest when the period was over. Colton Ayers and Kristopher White both had three-point goals to key the run that tied the game with one quarter remaining.
When Mike Campbell scored on a layup with 2:58 to play, Nation Ford was in front 53-51. When Oakbrook’s Will Holenbach nailed a short jumper in the lane the game was tied at 57 with 2:34 to play.
Riley Hilton, who was named to the All-Tournament team, scored on a layup, Campbell hit a pair of free throws and it was 61-57. Hilton added one of two from the charity stripe and the Falcons were in front 62-57 with 41 seconds remaining.
White scored on a layup for Oakbrook, but Hilton answered with a pair of free throws for a 64-59 Nation Ford lead. Elijah Jennings made a free throw with five seconds left to ice the game.
“We had some lapses on defense, and we had too many turnovers,” said Nation Ford coach Michael Tew. “I was pleased with our balanced scoring.”
Nation Ford was led by Hilton, who had 22 points. Dalton Rose added 18 to the winning cause, while Campbell chipped in 17.
“We shared the ball better, and we have got to do that if we want to continue to improve,” Tew said. “In the end I would rather have an ugly win, because it sends us into the new year with a 7-5 record.”
Oakbrook was led in scoring by White, who had 17 points. David Pouzadoux added 14 and Ayers tossed in 10.
Lewisville loses in final seconds
The Lewisville Lions suffered a last-second 47-46 defeat at the hands of the Hickory Grove Lions.
Hickory Grove led 14-8 after one period, but Lewisville rallied in the second quarter and moved in front 26-20 at halftime.
Lewisville increased the lead to 40-32 after three periods. At one point in the third quarter the Lions led 39-23, but Hickory Grove came back in the final three minutes of the quarter.
When Tony Gaston scored on a layup with 2:29 to play in the game Lewisville led 44-36, but Hickory Grove came back again.
A layup by Keyshawn Allen and a three-point play by Bruce Dixon cut the Lewisville lead to 46-45 with 42 seconds remaining in the game. Hank Coffee’s short baseline jumper with 21 seconds left gave Hickory Grove the lead at 47-46.
After the teams traded turnovers, Lewisville missed a shot at the buzzer.
“This was a very disappointing loss,” said Lewisville coach Curtis Wilmore. “We played pretty good in a lot of places, but we have got to play a complete game.”
Lewisville finished 1-3 in the four-day tournament, but Wilmore saw some positives from his team.
“We have got a little bit of team chemistry now,” Wilmore said. “We grew up a lot in this tournament because all of the teams we played were in larger classifications.”
Cody Montgomery, who was chosen for the All-Tournament team, and Marcus McCullough led Lewisville with 14 points each. Montgomery’s eight points in the first period kept Lewisville in the game early, while McCullough’s nine points in the third quarter spearheaded the scoring spree that opened the big lead. Obbie Sarduy added eight for Lewisville.
Griffin led Hickory Grove with 22 points.