February 19, 2009

Northwestern boys' basketball team's defense shuts down Lancaster in first-round AAAA contest

Northwestern built a 19-6 lead in the first and went on to top Lancaster 76-63 in the first round of the Class AAAA boys Upper State playoffs.

Jonathan McGriff put the Bruins on the board first just over a minute into the game, but the smothering Trojans defense fueled a 14-0 run over the next four minutes.

"We've been playing pretty good defense over the last few weeks and pretty much all season. We held them to only one 3 in the first half and that allowed us to get that big lead," Northwestern coach Mike Gossett said.

Northwestern forced 10 first-quarter turnovers, many of which led to easy buckets on the offensive end where Cordarrelle Patterson scored six of his game-high 23 points during the Trojans early outburst. Labris Adams added six in the run as well.

Avery Harris halted the bleeding for the Bruins when he was fouled on a drive to the basket. Harris nailed both free throws, but Lancaster trailed 17-4 with 1:10 remaining in the first.

Northwestern continued to push the throttle down in the second.

Adams and Doug Sellers, who came off the bench, scored eight quick points to extend the Trojans lead to 29-9 with 3:33 left in the half.

Sparked by a Xavier Holloway 3-pointer, the Bruins outscored Northwestern 7-2 over the next 1:02 to draw within 11, 30-19, but Lancaster never managed to whittle the lead to single digits.

Northwestern led by as many as 23 points in the fourth.

The second-seeded Trojans, who improve to 17-8, will meet Westside on Saturday night in the second round.

"We don't know anything on either one of them, but we'll get some tape on them (today) and go from there," Gossett said.

He says his team is most concerned with getting a chance to advance. After all, it's playoff time and loser goes home.

The Trojans advanced to the second round a year ago before they were knocked out on the road at North Augusta.

Lancaster's first trip to the playoffs since 2005 was short lived. Lancaster advanced to the semifinals in 2005, where eventual state champion Gaffney eliminated them.

Lancaster finished the season with a 12-13 mark.

n NOTE: Northwestern girls coach John Bramlett received a bit of good news Wednesday. The Lady Trojans will have the services of Tiarra Lewis on Friday when they travel to Greenwood for a second round matchup. Lewis was ejected late in Tuesday's game against Ridge View for leaving the bench. The South Carolina High School League ruled no infraction occurred that warranted a suspension.

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