Varsity Basketball

Northwest offense finds right pace past Southeast girls

For most of the first half at Southeast on Friday night, the Northwest girls watched each other dribble the ball. There wasn’t much movement, and the offense was stagnant.

“We got rushed, that’s what they wanted us to do, and they do a good job of it,” Northwest coach Jim Mernagh said. “Boy, they can go. It was a little scary. But that’s the good thing about having kids that have been through a whole bunch. They did a good job.”

Northwest’s offense recovered as it defeated Southeast 65-56 in the season opener for both teams.

“I think we were so nervous and excited to play, we were standing around and watching each other do stuff,” said Northwest senior Alaina Shine, who scored 11 of her 14 points in the second half. “Once we started moving and moving without the ball, things started to up for us.”

Northwest struggled with foul trouble early, with starters Brianna Caldwell and T. Nolen picking up two fouls in the opening period.

But Ricayah Simpkins scored three baskets in the final 1:46 of the first quarter during a 9-0 run to give Northwest a lead.

“Ricayah and Cassidy (Harbert, a sophomore) came in and did a good job for us. That’s their first varsity action and they played big,” Mernagh said.

Still, Northwest trailed 31-26 at the half after making 7 of 22 shots.

Southeast struggled, as well. Senior Jamillah Bonner scored her first points at the 6:07 mark of the second period. She finished with a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds and hit 16 of 18 free throws.

The Buffaloes, after making 11 of 24 from the floor in the first half, were 4 of 24 in the second half.

Northwest’s offense got going early in the third quarter when Shine went strong to the basket. Caldwell followed with a fastbreak basket off a Nolen steal.

The Grizzlies took the lead for good when Caldwell hit a three-pointer — she finished with a team-high 16 points — to put Northwest up 37-33 with 4:40 to go in the period.

Northwest hit 8 of 12 shots in the third and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line.

The Grizzlies were 30 of 45 from the free-throw line.

Northwest (1-0, 1-0) 13 13 24 15 — 65

Southeast (0-1, 0-1) 12 19 8 17 — 56

NORTHWEST: Caldwell 4 7-10 16, Cotman 0 2-5 2, Shine 2 10-12 14, M. Millspaugh 1 2-4 5, Nolen 2 2-2 6, A. Millspaugh 1 6-8 8, Loganbill 1 0-0 2, Simpkins 3 1-4 7, Harbert 2 0-0 5. Totals 16 (3) 30-45 65.

SOUTHEAST: Jamillah Bonner 3 16-18 23, Jamisha Bonner 3 0-2 6, Maxwell 3 0-2 6, Broadus 2 1-6 7, Brown 0 1-2 1, Raines 1 0-0 2, Turner 1 0-0 2, Givens 2 5-6 9. Totals 15 (3) 23-36 56.

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