Northern Nash boys finding their stride


By Ethan Joyce
Sports Writer

Friday, January 6, 2017

Raymond “Goody” Bullock is everywhere for Northern Nash.

At 6-foot-4, he’s a guy that’s relegated to manning the rim. But against Wilson Hunt on Thursday, Bullock made his way out to the front of the Knights’ defense to defend the ball.

The goggled senior helped slow down a Warriors team that inched back into the game before a late surge led Northern Nash (13-2, 1-0 Big East) to a 64-50 victory.

Northern Nash coach Henry Drake said the defense’s attitude needed to change in that final frame, and Bullock was part of the reason it did so positively.

“When that fourth quarter came, we had no fouls,” Drake said. “We needed to turn up the pressure, and even if you commit a foul, just forget about it.

“We did that and we were able to get out and do what we do best.”

Northern Nash had an 11-point cushion at halftime. In return, Wilson Hunt looked to clog the running lanes. The Warriors choked Northern Nash’s fast break and closed the margin. That paired with what Drake saw as poor defensive positioning, and it allowed Hunt to push back.

The Warriors’ KJ Jones grabbed an inbounds pass and hit Jameson Lucas for a streaking layup. Jeremiah Ganaway converted a layup, Michael Ellis added 2, and Floyd Evans converted two baskets to end the third with the Warriors down eight.

It was near the end of the third where Bullock made his way from the paint to the top of the key. Bullock served as an obstacle to the Hunt ballhandlers, and it flattened the Warriors attack. Northern Nash kicked off the fourth quarter with an 11-4 run and let their speed take over. The margin began to expand again.

“With my length, it can make passes harder,” Bullock said. “The one where Darquez (Flowers) stole it (to score and give Northern Nash a 12-point lead), it deflected off my arm.

“It is just effort, and effort makes a lot of plays. We want to run, and you have to play defense when you want to run.”

With 13 wins, Northern Nash matches its total from last season. The Knights started off strong last year also but went 2-8 in conference play. They don’t plan on letting it happen again.

“This means a lot to our kids, especially the ones who were here last year,” Drake said. “Especially the JV players to play varsity last year.

“. . . We hadn’t played basketball in seven days, and for them to come out here and grind it out against a good Wilson Hunt team. I am proud of the guys.”

Wilson Hunt 48

Northern Nash 43

The Northern Nash girls’ basketball team broke out to an 11-point lead against Wilson Hunt, a team that entered the contest with a 12-1 record.

The Warriors shot terribly in that first quarter, going 4 of 13. Northern Nash could not hold up the margin, and the Warriors attack leveled out. Wilson Hunt closed that gap en route to a 48-34 win against the Knights (5-8, 0-1 Big East).

Hunt was without starting guard Tatiana Smith, and coach Tiffany Parks said the first half was her team sorting that out.

“We are guard heavy, but it messes with what we are used to,” Parks said. “And we are in a habit of her (Smith) being in control, and it is a little different for the adjustments.”

Destinee Pierce served as a zone buster for Hunt, scoring 12 points in the second and third quarter as the Warriors pulled away. She finished with 14 points.

Smith’s absence also pushed Hunt freshman Brianna Tucker into more of a prominent role. The coach pointed out Tucker’s defense in the second half and ability to create turnovers and a major impact in Hunt’s win.

“She is a good defensive player, and she is good at pushing the ball down the court.

“She is not comfortable with being in charge, but she does a good job.”