Varsity Basketball

Northwest boys rebound for win over Southeast

There are stretches when June Johnson is the best player for the Northwest boys basketball team. Then there are times when he's planted in coach Chris Collins' doghouse.

Johnson's fluctuating season continued Friday night at home in Northwest's 67-65 victory over Southeast, but he was at his best at the right time for the Grizzlies.

The junior scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning shot he kissed off the backboard while falling away as time expired.

So what did Johnson do to unlock his potential down the stretch?

"Just staying humble," he said.

That included after the game when describing the final sequence after teammate Craig Nicholson let a deep three-pointer fly and a tip-in from Spenser Gales caromed out.

"Fortunately, it came my way and out of instinct, I just put it up there," said Johnson, who released the shot with under a second left. "I had the angle (to bank it)."

The ending was telling — it showed where the game was won and lost.

Southeast (6-6, 4-5 City League) could not keep the Grizzlies (8-4, 7-2) from controlling the offensive glass, the main reason why the Buffaloes failed to protect a 10-point second-half lead. Northwest finished with 10 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and nearly had as many offensive rebounds (24) as Southeast had total in its 42-25 advantage.

"Determination," Southeast coach Carl Taylor said. "They wanted it more than we did. Very simple."

After Southeast took a 39-33 halftime lead, Collins emphasized the importance of winning the rebounding battle.

Gales responded with 12 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots. Northwest outrebounded Southeast 24-9 the second half.

"It's a mindset game," said Northwest's Kendrick Miller (18 points, eight rebounds). "You've got to bring your mind to do it. You've got to want to do it."

Southeast's Gavin Thurman scored a game-high 23 points, but only attempted four second-half shots.

Northwest took its first lead of the second half at 63-61 on a Miller put-back with 2:46 left in the game. The teams traded baskets to set up the final flurry from Northwest.

"Ideally, you want to get the ball as close to the rim as possible," Collins said. "But I've got confidence in Craig. And with the way we were attacking the offensive glass...."

It left the opposing coach fuming about the fundamentals of boxing out.

"I can't stand losing," Taylor said. "When we don't execute as a team, this is what happens."

Southeast (6-6, 4-5) 18 21 15 11 — 65 Northwest (8-4, 7-2) 17 16 13 21 — 67

SOUTHEAST: Williams 3 2-2 8, Brooks 5 0-0 10, Ransom 4 0-0 10, Harris 5 0-0 14, Thurman 9 4-4 23, Gunter 0 0-0 0, Garland 0 0-0 0, Loggins 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 (7) 6-6 65.

NORTHWEST: Nicholson 6 2-6 16, Johnson 8 0-1 17, Landenberger 2 0-0 4, Miller 9 0-0 18, Gales 4 4-7 12, Cramer 0 0-0 0, Fizer 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 (3) 6-13 67.

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