Over the course of 48 hours during the two days it needed to host the James Chapman Waldorf Holiday Hoops Classic tournament, the North Point boys basketball team emerged with two victories and prepared for the second part of the team’s schedule.
North Point (7-1), which will host Theodore Roosevelt of Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and then host crosstown rival Westlake (6-1) on Friday, overcame a slow start against Bladensburg of Prince George’s County for a 70-52 victory on Friday evening. The Eagles trailed 7-0 in the first two minutes and were still down, 30-27, at the intermission.
“It’s actually been rare for us to come a way with two wins in a holiday tournament,” said North Point coach Jimmy Ball. “So, I’m glad we won both games here and we’re sitting 7-1 on the season. But we still have a lot of things we need to work on. Our league is really tough again this year and we get Westlake here on Friday night then our next four games are away.”
In the final game of the two-day outing, North Point could not have asked for a more difficult start. The Eagles actually trailed the Mustangs, 7-0, after two minutes and by as many as 10 points on two occasions in the first quarter and were still trailing by three points at the intermission. Bladensburg (3-3) reached the 4A state finals last year, but the Mustangs have struggled this season.
North Point turned things around at the outset of the third quarter as Magic Hewlett, Satchel Ball and Jordan McKenzie each contributed during a 10-0 run that gave the Eagles a 39-30 lead. Bladensburg stayed within single digits for the next three minutes of the third quarter before North Point ended the frame on an 8-3 run to take a 49-37 lead into the final period.
North Point extended the lead to 16 points on several occasions in the fourth quarter on buckets from Ball and Hewlett and baskets inside from McKenzie and Xavier Grant. The Mustangs got to within 12 points on several occasions in the middle stages of the fourth quarter, but the Eagles ended the game on an 8-2 run over the last two minutes.
“We did a lot better job of playing defense in the second half,” said McKenzie, who was selected as the game’s Most Valuable Player after leading the Eagles with 16 points and 11 rebounds. “We still have a lot of tough teams to play. Winning these last two games meant a lot. It showed us what we can do when we play together.”
One night earlier in a 72-52 victory over Lely (Fla.) the Eagles got 21 points from McKenzie, 18 more from Hewlett and 12 from Ball. Unlike Friday’s game against Bladensburg, North Point enjoyed a strong start to the contest and led 45-26 at the intermission en route to the comfortable tally.
Ball knows the Eagles have several tough games on tap once school resumes on Wednesday with Theodore Roosevelt and Westlake slated to arrive. Fittingly, Westlake coach Ed Mouton stayed around to watch the Eagles defeat Bladensburg after the Wolverines downed Northwestern, 62-46, and St. Charles boys basketball coach Brett Campbell arrived for the second half of North Point’s game against Bladensburg.