The first-place South Pointe boys got 17 points from Anthony Johnson and 16 from former-Trojan Mustafia Love to hand Northwestern a 65-46 basketball loss Saturday at Northwestern. The win helped the Stallions earn a little breathing room from the Trojans in the Region 3-AAAA race. The 9-0 Stallions now lead Northwestern by three games and have swept the season series.
Love, who transferred to South Pointe last semester after playing both football and basketball for the Trojans, played with a little extra energy.
“The first time we played them at our place, (Love) was in foul trouble and didn’t get a chance to play as much,” South Pointe coach Melvin Watson said. “So it was the kind of game he marked down to be ready for and he came out and played big. He played with a lot of energy, made really good decisions, and got to the basket like we needed him to.”
In the first half, Quadarious Fair had an out-of-body experience for Northwestern. The first quarter box score read South Pointe 10, Fair 10. Included in those 10 were two dunks, one of which worth of a highlight on ESPN’s Sportscenter, as Fair finished his personal fast break with a thunderous two-hand slam over two Stallions, and got fouled in the process.
Fair completed the three-point play for a 5-0 lead. His second dunk tied the score after the Stallions had gone on an 8-0 run to take the lead 10-8. No one other than Fair scored for Northwestern until Clenzo Ross hit two free throws with 5:52 left in the second quarter. Fair scored seven more in the period to total 17 of the home team’s 23 first half points, but South Pointe led 28-23 behind balanced scoring from five players.
The Stallions scored the first six points of the third period to force a Trojans timeout at the 5:32 mark with the score 34-23. Fair also came back down to earth with just three points after halftime, all on fourth-quarter free throws. Watson said South Pointe did not focus on trying to shut down Fair in the second half.
“We just wanted to stay with our game plan,” Watson said. “They were making plays and getting some easy baskets early, and we got out of our press and went straight man-to-man and that was key.”
Northwestern scored the final seven points of the third to cut a 12-point deficit to 38-33. But early in the final period the Trojans missed two front ends of one-and-ones with a chance to cut the lead as low as three and that was as close as they would get as the Stallions pulled away. South Pointe converted 11-of-14 free throws in the fourth quarter to put the game to bed. Tyreece Brice also had 16 points for the visitors.
Watson is now 2-0 against former South Carolina teammate and first-year Trojan coach Larry Davis but he said that was not the focus.
“When we would divide our teams up in practice (in college) we used to go against each other and we’ve always been competitive. It’s still the same nature but you know after the game we’re fine. He has a team that’s probably going to make a deep run in the playoffs.”
Watson’s focus now is finishing strong and getting ready for the playoffs.
“My main focus is to get my younger guys more reps because we’re going to need them. We can’t be a five-man team and we’re going to work on getting better balance with our younger guys and our seniors.”
South Pointe 65 Northwestern 46
Individual scoring: SP - Anthony Johnson 17, Mustafia Love 16, Tyreese Brice 16, Quay Brown 2, Marveon Mobley 6, Montez McCullough 6, Zeek Rodney 2. NW - Quadarious Fair 20, Malcolm Anthony 8, Clenzo Ross 4, Manzi Hill 11, Will Chitwood 3.
Team fouls: SP - 25; NW - 20. Fouled out - Mobley (SP). Technicals - Chitwood (NW). Records - SP: 16-4, 9-0, Region 3-AAAA; NW: 15-5, 6-3.
Northwestern 52, South Pointe 39: The Northwestern backcourt took control of the game in the third quarter and led the Trojans to a victory over the Stallions at Northwestern. The game was tied at 19 coming out of the halftime break but Aubriana Thompson and Ieshia Love scored the first 13 points of the second half to put the Trojans in control.
In all, that run coupled with the last two points of the second quarter by Love made it a 15-0 run.
Northwestern finished the first half on a 9-2 spurt after trailing 17-10 to tie the game at the half. When the Stallions finally hit two free throws with 4:34 remaining in the third period, that ended a 22-2 run that put the home team up 32-19.
Love, who finished with 11 points, started the third quarter with a quick bucket followed by a three-pointer from Thompson, who led all scorers with 19. Another two from Love forced South Pointe to call timeout trailing 26-19 just 1:27 into the half, but Thompson and Love each hit another three following the timeout for the 13-point lead.
Thompson had eight in the period and Love had seven.
“They are the energy,” Northwestern coach John Bramlett said of his guards. “When they get going a little bit then everybody else picks up their pace. But they’re seniors and that’s exactly what they’re supposed to do.”
With the win, the Trojans have swept the season series with South Pointe with both teams sitting at 6-3 in Region 3-AAAA.
“It was a big win,” Bramlett said. “We really played good defense tonight.”
The Stallions were led by 13 points from T’Keia Williams.
Northwestern 52 South Pointe 39
Individual scoring: NW - Aubriana Thompson 19, Ieshia Love 11, Paige Samuelson 8, Brianna Lewis 6, Courtney Cummingham-Heath 4, Tyler Kent 2, Lauren Reese 2. SP - T’Keia Williams 13, Cameron Davis 8, Raven Byers 6, Deiona Davis 4, Breana Davis 3, Denisha Hall 3, Franquia Byers 2.
Team fouls: NW - 15; SP - 25. Fouled out - Samuelson (NW). Technicals - SP bench. Records: NW - 12-7, 6-3 Region 3-AAAA; SP - 10-5, 6-3.