With a complete effort, Northern Nash set up yet another meeting with Rocky Mount High in the Nash Country Christmas Tournament championship game.
Northern Nash built a 30-point lead in the second half and coasted past Southern Nash, 61-39, in the tournament’s semifinals Tuesday at Northern Nash High School, setting up a meeting with the Gryphons in the finals for the fifth time in the past six years.
“I thought we would play good because we had a great practice (Monday),” said junior Kiana Thomas, who scored 12 points for the Knights. “Everybody had great energy and was wanting to get better. That makes us all better.”
Alexus Hill scored 18 points to lead the Knights (8-1), who jumped on the Ladybirds (4-6) early in the game. Northern Nash went on a 12-0 run in the first quarter to take a double-digit lead, where it remained for the rest of the game.
Northern Nash never trailed, and by halftime, the Knights’ lead was a comfortable 34-13.
“I thought we were patient, and we ran the floor very well early in the game,” Northern Nash coach Grover Battle said. “Werebounded. We defended well. I thought we played a pretty good first half, and we continued it into the third quarter a little bit.”
Hill added five quick points in the third quarter, and the Ladybirds struggled to cope with a significant height disadvantage.
Late in the third quarter, the Knights held a 52-20 lead, at which point Battle subbed freely.
“I thought our girls played with a little bit more intensity in the first half and the third quarter,” Battle said. “That gave some of our young ladies a chance to see the floor.”
Destiny Burgess led the Ladybirds with 20 points, while Danyelle Noland added 10. The rest of Southern Nash’s team combined for nine points.
Northern Nash used a press to force the Ladybirds into turnovers, and the Knights’ size in the post made life difficult on Southern Nash.
“We always try to use our advantages,” Thomas said. “If you have it, you have to make it into a strength.”
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or firstname.lastname@example.org