Varsity Basketball

Enduring North nips SE

Being tired never entered the mind of North senior guard Chekiel Wright.

A few games ago, maybe. But playing the entire 32 minutes has become routine for Wright, the leader of a Redskins basketball team without much depth.

Wright didn't see the bench for the fifth time in seven games and scored 21 points to help North hold off Southeast 78-73 on Tuesday night.

"I try not to think about it," Wright said. "Early in the season, against Heights, I got tired because it was an up-and-down game. But I try not to think about it and just play hard. I just try to keep my composure — I'm kind of used to it by now."

The Redskins jumped to double-digit leads in the first and third quarters but nearly surrendered them in the second and fourth.

A repeat of Friday's performance against East, when North blew a late lead and lost, was a concern.

But the Redskins scored five of the final seven points after a Gavin Thurman basket cut North's lead to 73-71 with 1:05 to go.

North used six players but managed to sustain its energy down the stretch. Freshman Connor Frankamp led North with 21 points, and Briston (18) and Brison White (11) joined them in double figures.

"We call it balance," North coach Gary Squires said in addressing his minimal rotation. "I wanted to get some younger kids in there, but it was too tight a game. Every possession is so important for us at this stage because these guys want to win."

It took time for Southeast's inexperienced guards to adjust to North's pace.

The Redskins' frenzy is necessary because no starter is taller than 6-foot-1. Southeast had five turnovers in the first quarter and North took a 27-16 lead.

"Coach was telling us that their guards were immature, young," Wright said. "Outsmart them and play harder than them — we used that to our advantage."

The Redskins never got the lead beyond 11 and Southeast rallied by feeding its big men.

Gavin Thurman and Kevin Gunter, Southeast's 6-foot-6 post players, ran the floor for fast-break baskets and the undersized Redskins had no answer inside for the duo.

Thurman and Gunter combined for 31 points, 18 in the second half.

"That's where our advantage is, getting the ball in low," Southeast senior Joseph Randle said. "Not shooting threes or anything else."

North gets another shot at East on Friday. In a game that is likely to be played at a fast pace, fatigue is no longer a concern for the Redskins.

"Maybe we run out of gas (late, but I don't think so," Squires said. These kids can run all day. We run all day in practice. We do all this full-court stuff, because you've got to. Teams that run have to practice it."

Southeast (3-5, 3-4) 16 22 15 20 — 73 North (4-3, 4-3) 27 17 18 16 — 78

SOUTHEAST: Williams 5 0-0 10, Gunter 5 4-7 14, Gary Thurman 3 0-0 8, Gavin Thurman 7 3-3 17, Randle 3 0-0 6, Brooks 0 1-2 1, Reed 0 0-0 0, Presley 4 1-2 11, Webb 2 0-2 4, Ranson 1 0-0 2. Totals 30 (4) 9-16 73.

NORTH: Briston White 5 8-12 18, Tolliver 1 0-0 2, Brison White 4 3-8 11, Frankamp 8 3-3 23, Wright 7 5-7 21, Robertson 1 1-2 3. Totals 26 (6) 20-32 78.

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