Northside Christian just needed to be itself at the Under Armour Showcase.
The Knights, No. 12 in the country in USA Today’s high school rankings, lived up to its national reputation with a 75-66 victory against Denver (Colo.) East on Saturday at Berry Academy. Northside (12-1) stumbled into a 10-point hole, then pulled itself together with a dazzling second-half run in which the Knights dominated on both ends of the floor.
“We just started playing like ourselves,” said Northside forward Keyshawn Woods, a Charlotte signee who led the Knights with 22 points. “We didn’t play like us in the first half. We didn’t pressure at all; we didn’t find the open man. We were more one-on-one.”
Northside woke up in the second quarter after Colorado signee Dominique Collier drained a 3-pointer to give Denver East (10-3) a 30-20 lead 2 minutes, 45 seconds before intermission. Woods scored 10 of the next 14 Northside points to pull the Knights to within 35-34 at the break and most important, gave them a needed shot of confidence going forward.
“I just knew I had to do something to pick my team up,” said Woods, who scored half of his points in the second quarter to earn Northside’s MVP honor. “Coach (Byron Dinkins) told me to take over at that time because of foul trouble, so I did what my coach told me.”
Part of that assignment meant taking on Collier, who led all scorers with 37 points to earn Denver East’s MVP honor. While Collier was electric with five of his seven 3-pointers in the first half, Northside’s defense and balanced scoring dominated the second. The Knights ripped off a 20-12 third quarter that turned the momentum for good and extended into the fourth in which Northside built its advantage to as many as 14 points. In addition to Woods’ burst, St. Joseph’s recruit James Demery added 16 points for Northside while Presbyterian signee Desean Murray chipped in 15 and Rayjon Tucker 14.
“We started off pretty slow, but the coach got us together in the second half and was telling us we’ve got to play with energy because we came out there thinking we were cool,” Demery said. “When we got into the energy, we played our game in the second half. That’s the main part.”
Denver East – Dominique Collier 37, Brian Carey 13, Robinson 6, Griffin 5, Willis 5.
Northside Christian – Keyshawn Woods 22, James Demery 16, Desean Murray 15, Rayjon Tucker 14, Holmes 3, Kowalski 3, Ritter 2.
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