Everything started so well for Northwest against Wilson Central on Friday.
The Vikings were out to an early lead and point guard Ametri Moss, fresh off a 34-point game just one week prior, seemed to be cooking again early. Then, while going for a defensive rebound in the first quarter, he took an elbow to the forehead. He immediately left the floor – then the gym – to receive stitches for the wound.
It all went downhill from there, and the Wildcats emerged with an 80-51 victory.
“We tried to make an adjustment and go a little bit bigger, but Wilson Central is such a disciplined team that when we were trying to do something on the fly, it didn’t really work,” said Northwest coach Aaron Wallus. “We had spurts, but we really depend on Ametri a lot with the ball in his hands. Even though he scores a lot of points, he’s a creator for everybody.
“(The trainer) told us in the huddle he’s not coming back and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, crap.’ Yes, it sucks, but we’ve got to keep grinding. I don’t care that we got beat by 30, we’re still playing all the way to the end.”
The Vikings even led 20-16 after the first quarter, but Wilson Central’s full-court press took advantage of Northwest’s newfound lack of a primary ball handler and forced numerous turnovers for easy transition baskets. It translated into a one-sided 32-7 second quarter in favor of the Wildcats.
Despite being undersized against a relatively big team, Wilson Central knew what they had to do and did exactly what was necessary to win by nearly 30 points on the road.
“We executed the game plan for just about the first time all year,” said Wildcat coach Michael Teeter. “We had a lot of execution, we understood what they were trying to do, we were trying to take that away. We played our tempo the entire game. We were able to slow them down with our press and we were able to push really hard in our transition.
“(In the) half court, we were able to do what we needed to. Defensively, we held them to seven points in a quarter. We were able to do the things that we needed to do, and with this group that’s going to go a long way.”
Four different Wildcats cracked double-digit scoring, and Caleb Lawrence and Adler Kerr nearly scored an appropriate 20 apiece in their first game of 2020, notching 21 and 20 respectively.
Wilson Central (80): Caleb Lawrence 21, Adler Kerr 20, Jordan Beard 17, Daniel Beard 10, Zack Markus-Kellerman 5, Dakota Boudacious 2, Braiden Staten 2, Evan Riggan 2, Connor Miller 1.
Northwest (51): NaQuan Braithewaite 19, Amonte Briscoe 9, Joshua Youngblood 8, Ametri Moss 5, Scott Batista 5, Damian Smith 3, Jamal Mull 2.