A normal concern in basketball is how to handle an opponent’s defensive pressure and intensity.
While that might be the case for most teams, it’s certainly not when facing Kenwood and the relentless pressure that comes from its up-tempo offense.
And the top-seeded Knights pestered the gritty No. 8 Northwest Vikings long enough to garner a 73-45 win in a boys District 10-AAA Tournament game at home Friday night.
Kenwood (22-5), which jumped out to a 16-point lead by the 2:45 mark of the first quarter, moves onto to face No. 4 Henry County at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Kenwood High.
“They were coming off a big win and we had beaten them fairly handily the two times we played them in the past and we knew we didn’t want to give them any hope,” Kenwood coach John Stigall said. “We wanted to leave no doubt early in the game. I thought we did that, we did have some lapses, but that’s human nature. We did some good things, but it’s just about surviving and advancing and moving on.”
Henry County knocked off No. 5 West Creek 65-45 Friday night in Paris.
Northwest ended the year 8-16 overall and with a 4-12 regular season mark in District 10-AAA.
The Knights were led by Daniel Norl’s game-high 28 points, Guy Stanford’s 12 and Maleek Hall’s 11.
Northwest had Tramon Moore with 17 points and Sam Masters with 10 points.
It was the Norl show to start and his third 3-pointer of the game put Kenwood up 9-2 with 5:28 to go. Kenwood kept the pressure going and took an 18-2 lead on Stanford’s layup with 2:45 left.
“We hadn’t seen many teams that played us straight zone to start,” Stigall said. “So when he (Norl) saw that, his eyes kind of lit up and he made three in a row.”
Northwest got it down to 18-7 with 16.4 seconds left in the first on Moore’s 3, but Hall answered with one at the buzzer that made it 21-7 Kenwood.
The Vikings wouldn’t get closer than 11 points the rest of the night.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t see many teams that can beat them if they stay disciplined,” Northwest coach Vincent Turner said. “The play well, they’re coached well. I’m proud of my guys, because they played hard. I love them to death. I just want to do better for them.”
Kenwood took a 29-10 lead with 4:30 left in the second on Legree Hariston’s putback and made it the 36-12 halftime score on Norl’s jumper with 6.3 seconds to go.
Northwest managed to trim the margin down to 20 points twice in the third. The Vikings made it 48-28 with 54 seconds left on Moore’s 3 and 50-30 with 3.5 seconds to go on Chamber’s jumper.
Kenwood took its biggest lead at 65-35 with 4:01 left in the game on Norl’s sixth and final 3-pointer.
Kenwood 73, Northwest 45
Northwest 7 5 18 15 — 45
Kenwood 21 14 14 23 — 73
Kenwood: Maleek Hall 11, Trent McLaurin 6, Daniel Norl 28, A.J. Richardson 3, Guy Stanford 12, Kyus Newman 2, Angel Hall 1, Zach Gibbs 2, Legree Hariston 6, Matthew Norl 2. Team totals 17, 6-19, 73.
Northwest: Sam Masters 10, Tramon Moore 17, Terrell Chambers 8, Elijah McCoin 2, Ramont Lewis 1, Khari Banks 1, Markel Kea 1, Tiraz Rose 5. Team totals: 7, 8-18, 45.
3-pointers: Kenwood 10 (Norl 6, Hall 2, Richardson, Stanford), Northwest 8 (Moore 3, Masters 2, Chambers 2, Rose 1).