Some 20 hours after finishing a gritty league win, Northern Nash had to do it again Saturday.
The Knights responded again, surviving the schedule and visiting Wilson Hunt, 52-44, to stay unbeaten in the Big East Conference.
“I think I’ve found out that our girls have a lot of heart, and they played beyond (their) talent with the effort they put forth (Saturday),” Northern Nash coach Grover Battle said.
Hunt (11-7, 4-3) clamped the Knights’ offense with a mix of zone defenses, all of them centered around stopping star guard Alex Hill, who finished with 14 points.
Alexia Hines stepped into the role of leading scorer for third-ranked Northern Nash (19-1, 7-0), scoring 18 points.
The Knights can clinch the Big East Conference’s No. 1 seed with a win Tuesday against Wilson Fike and a Rocky Mount High loss.
Wilson Hunt 74
Northern Nash 59
Wilson Hunt can play a pace at which no other Big East team can match, and the Warriors found it in the second quarter on the way to another win.
Hunt overwhelmed Northern Nash, 28-12, in the second quarter with its pressure defense and ability to fast break, which led to a 23-point halftime lead.
“The pace of the game was to our liking,” Hunt coach Dwight Taylor said. “We’d rather play at a faster pace. We get in the game a little bit better.”
Hunt (16-3, 7-0) elected for more halfcourt play in the second half, which let Northern Nash come within 12 with just under three minutes to play but had its desired effect of protecting the big lead.
Northern Nash (7-13, 1-6) played with Hunt for three quarters, but the big deficit created in the second proved to be too much.
“We had a spurt of turnovers in the first half that kind of fueled them – turnovers led to some baskets for them,” Northern Nash coach Rick Ruffin said. “... We dug ourselves in in the first half. We gave up 45 (points). That’s tough.”
Every player who dressed for Hunt scored at least two points. Quan Kent led the Warriors with 20 points, all of which were scored in the first three quarters.
D.J. Prunty, playing out of position at center, led Northern Nash with 15 points.
Demonte Johnson and Isaac Dupree both scored 11 for the Knights.
With the Knights all but eliminated from playoffs contention, they’re going on an upset mission this week with three Big East home games, including a rematch against Rocky Mount.
“We want to knock somebody off, one of the top teams off,” Prunty said. “We have to fight harder. If we want more wins, we have to fight harder.”
Wilson Hunt 74
Northern Nash 59
WH 17 28 15 14 – 74
NN 10 12 17 21 – 59
WH: Quan Kent (20 points); Keenan Tabron (13 points); Justin Jefferson (10 points); Dexter Wright (8 points); Josh Willingham (6 points); Chris Felts (5 points); Samad Jones, Orlando Dickens (3 points); Jaylen Gilliam, Amate Dawes, Justen Williams (2 points).
NN: D.J. Prunty (15 points); Demonte Johnson, Isaac Dupree (11 points); Kyree Clarke (6 points); Marcellus Major, Tyler Jones (5 points); Tyler Brantley (3 points); Travon Clarke, Brandon Howlett (2 points).
Northern Nash 52
Wilson Hunt 44
WH 10 17 6 11 – 44
NN 12 17 9 14 – 52
WH: Dani Harris (17 points); Brionna Pate (14 points); Kiana Ballard (9 points); Nakeisha Jones (4 points); Destinee Hinnant (2 points).
NN: Alexia Hines (18 points); Alexus Hill (14 points); Suzie Sykes (7 points); Jahlia Williams (6 points); CeCe Harrison (4 points); Kiana Thomas (3 points).
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or firstname.lastname@example.org