Varsity Basketball

Heights boys flex strength inside

Heights' Terrence Moore (11) goes up for two against Northwest's Broc Cramer in the 4th quarter Tuesday night at Heights High.  (Feb. 15, 2011)
Heights' Terrence Moore (11) goes up for two against Northwest's Broc Cramer in the 4th quarter Tuesday night at Heights High. (Feb. 15, 2011) The Wichita Eagle

When the Heights boys basketball team decides it wants to do something, it believes it is going to accomplish it.

On Tuesday night at home against Northwest, the No. 1-ranked Falcons were going inside to begin the game. And there was nothing Northwest could do about it in Heights' 64-50 win.

Heights junior Perry Ellis had his way inside, compiling 15 points and seven rebounds in game's first nine minutes. The rest was cruise control for Heights (17-0, 13-0 City League).

"We put an emphasis on getting the ball inside and playing inside-out," said Ellis, who finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds. "And that's what we did."

Northwest tried to bait Heights into perimeter shots with its zone defense, but it had difficulties rebounding out of it. The Falcons finished with a 40-26 rebounding advantage.

Ellis set the tone in the decisive second quarter, where Heights outscored Northwest 20-6 to take a 33-21 lead into halftime. Ellis had 17 points and nine rebounds at half.

"Perry was fantastic tonight," Heights coach Joe Auer said. "He played with a lot of energy. He was getting every rebound; he was making every tough catch. He really played at a high level tonight."

When Northwest shifted its focus to Ellis the second half, Terrence Moore was there to pick up the offensive slack with a series of acrobatic finishes around the rim and two three-pointers in his 22-point performance.

Even Heights' bench was spectacular. When called upon to finish out the third quarter, they played Northwest even. Reserve Taylor Cross grabbed seven rebounds.

"You're not going to win championships without bench contributions like that," Auer said. "We had no letdown when they came in. That was important."

Northwest fell in love with the jump shot after it gave the Grizzlies a 15-13 lead after the first quarter. It spelled the Grizzlies' demise, as they finished the game shooting 36 percent (19 of 53) that included 2 of 14 three-point shooting.

Northwest's Craig Nicholson scored 16 points, but it took 18 shots to get there.

"Northwest runs that play off the ball screen with Nicholson over and over and over again," Auer said. "Our guys did a good job anticipating it and staying in front of Craig. That's not an easy thing to do."

Heights was able to limit Nicholson's effectiveness by switching on those ball screens, always keeping a defender in front of him.

And when the shots stopped falling for Northwest (12-6, 10-4), it marked the 17th time this season an opponent has succumbed to Heights' pressure.

"We knew they couldn't make enough shots from outside to beat us," Heights senior E.J. Dobbins said.

Northwest (12-6, 10-4) 15 6 7 22 — 50 Heights (17-0, 13-0) 13 20 10 21 — 64

NORTHWEST: Nicholson 6 3-5 16, Johnson 3 3-3 9, Landenberger 2 2-2 6, Miller 6 0-0 12, Gales 2 0-0 4, Kramer 1 0-0 3, Fizer 0 0-0 0, Tuggle 0 0-0 0, Carter 0 0-0 0, Resko 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Lucio 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 (2) 8-10 50.

HEIGHTS: Dobbins 3 3-6 9, Smith 0 0-1 0, Wessel 2 0-2 4, Moore 9 2-2 22, P. Ellis 10 4-6 24, Degraffenread 0 0-0 0, Cross 1 0-0 2, Countee 0 0-0 0, Jefferson 1 0-0 2, Reed 0 0-0 0, B. Ellis 0 1-2 1. Totals 26 (2) 10-19 64.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle