Northwest Girls Remain Unbeaten, Win Conference Tournament Championship
Coming into Friday night’s Piedmont Triad 4A Conference Championship game, all eyes were on the Lady Vikings of Northwest Guilford and their undefeated season record. With a win, the Vikings would be Conference Tournament and regular season Conference Champions. Their opponent was a Glenn team who finished the regular season as the third seed in the Piedmont Triad 4A. Most figured that Northwest would dominate, and they did – once they settled in and began playing their game.
The Vikings led by only four points at the end of the first quarter, 15-11. They had jumped out to an early 8-0 lead that Glenn gnawed at until they had made it a two possession game. Hayley Barber had 6 points in the opening frame for Northwest, and Glenn’s Kaniya Davis was hot from three-point land with two three pointers in the game’s first eight minutes.
Kaniya Davis got called for her third personal foul to begin the second quarter, and Northwest began to pull away. The Vikings went on two 4-0 spurts in the second quarter and led 26-17 at the half.
The third quarter was much like the second, with the exception that the Vikings looked a little more determined. They appeared to be getting the momentum that has led them to an undefeated season by the middle of the second half. At the end of 24 minutes of play, the Vikings led the Bobcats by a score of 37-26, punctuated by a Hayley Barber three point shot that fell right at the buzzer.
Riding on the momentum they had gained in the third and the excitement of the Barber buzzer-beater, the fourth quarter was completely dominated by Northwest. They outscored the Bobcats 23-8. The Vikings had their foot on the gas and didn’t let off. They had their second Conference Tournament Championship in four years in their sights.
Barber was the game’s leading scorer, but appeared to be playing through some pain.
“I just had to stay mentally strong and push through [the pain],” Barber admitted postgame. It was worth it: “Anytime you win a championship it’s just awesome,” she said.
“I think we were playing hard, and not necessarily smart [the first three quarters],” Northwest head coach Darlene Joyner said. “It was very physical, and it was allowed to be, so I told the girls to play through it. We welcome this. We want to see the best that our opponent can throw at us, fight through it, and gain our composure.”
Joyner feels that conference play has the Lady Vikings ready for the state tournament.
“I think the conference has given us better competition down the stretch, and that’s helped us be mentally tougher and helped us understand that we have to play hard every night. I think that makes you feel more confident in yourself and feel more confident in your teammates. It helps you in the long run.”
Freshman Cayla King made it clear that the Vikings knew that they had to step up their play after the first three quarters.
“We knew it was time to take over, time to play our game,” the confident freshman said.
With the victory, the Lady Vikings finished the regular season and conference tournament with an undefeated record of (25-0) overall and (10-0) in Piedmont Triad 4A conference games. They are regular season and conference tournament champions.
The Vikings will enter the 4A NCHSAA State Playoffs as a number one seed as they finished the year and conference tournament yet to be defeated. It will be a tough task to take down the Lady Vikings, if it happens at all.
Madison Whitt- 10pts
Nadia Curry- 7pts
Kaniya Davis- 6pts (all on 3 pointers)
Tia Wilkes- 5pts
Thallan Howard- 3pts
Nadia Harris- 2pts
Zariah Rawlinson- 1pt
NORTHWEST GUILFORD SCORING:
Hayley Barber- 14pts
Cayla King- 14pts
Bria Gibbs- 9pts
Savannah Neas- 9pts (all on 3 pointers)
Morgan Pointer- 8pts
Toni Tucker- 4pts
Elizabeth Kitley- 2pts
Photos by Andy Gore
Northwest Boys Beat Southwest Guilford for Second Time, Win Conference Tournament Championship
The highly anticipated deciding game between Northwest Guilford and Southwest Guilford who had split their regular season meetings took place on Friday night in the gym at East Forsyth High School. The two teams met in the Piedmont Triad 4A Tournament Championship game, and they proved why they were worthy of playing for the Title.
The two teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the first quarter. Northwest jumped out to an early 7-4 lead on two free throws made by Jalen Spicer, then Southwest went on a three minute 12-0 run that put the Vikings down by 12, a lead the Cowboys held for the remainder of the quarter. The score at the end of one was 25-13 in favor of the Cowboys.
The gym was packed and the fans were really into the game.
In the second quarter with 4:24 remaining, Keyshaun Langley scored for Southwest to put them ahead by their biggest lead of the game, 16 points. They appeared to be in total control with their foot on the gas pedal. Northwest had come back from a bigger deficit the last time the two teams met, however, and were going to do everything in their power to do it again. The Vikings fought back to narrow the Cowboy lead to 9 going into halftime. The score was 41-32.
The Vikings came out in the third quarter, gunning for the lead. The team went on an 11-2 run that tied the game at 43. With 5:52 left in the third quarter, Southwest coach Guy Shavers called a timeout and collected his team. Whatever coach Shavers said to the Cowboys in that timeout must’ve been exactly what they needed to hear, because they outscored Northwest 19-6 in the final 5:52 of the third quarter. The Cowboys once again had a double-digit lead. The score after three quarters was 62-49.
The Vikings still had fight left in them, though. They battled their way back into the game, and with Thomas Hennigan, Jalen Gore, and Jalen Spicer leading the way in the fourth quarter for the Vikings, they cut the Southwest lead to just three points on a Reggie Davis three pointer, with 1:32 left to play.
Northwest coach Lee Reavis said he was looking for the right words to motivate his team when junior leader Thomas Hennigan gave the speech for him.
“Thomas said, ‘Coach, this is about heart’ and the guys bought in,” Reavis said postgame.
The Vikings, running on that heart and skill, battled with Southwest the last minute and a half of regulation until the score was tied at 75 with 0.7 left in the game. Thomas Hennigan held the ball in his hands on the far baseline, and the Vikings attempted a baseball pass down-court that hit a rafter in the gym, giving the Cowboys the ball right underneath their own basket with just enough time to make a pass and get off a shot.
The Cowboys drew up their final play, missing leaders Keyshaun Langley and Kaymon Mitchell to foul-outs late in regulation, and the inbounds pass to Cooper Cunningham was clean. Cunningham took the three point shot to win the game. The ball bounced around the rim, with the buzzer in the background, and fell to the hands of a Northwest player. The Vikings had come back from another double-digit deficit to force overtime against a Cowboys team who had only lost one game all season. That loss came at the hands of the Vikings.
Kameron Langley scored all five of the Cowboys points in an overtime period that was dominated by Northwest. The Vikings beat the Cowboys 88-80 and were crowned Piedmont Triad 4A Tournament Champions. They will receive the top seed from the Triad in the 4A State Playoffs that begin on Tuesday.
Northwest’s Thomas Hennigan came off the bench and battled. He gave credit to his teammates postgame.
“It’s special, and it’s a team thing,” Hennigan said. “We were down in both games against these guys, and we showed heart each time. It’s the fight in us. People don’t see that when they look at our size and our roster, but there’s a fight in us.”
He expects that fight to carry his team deep into the state playoffs.
“I think that we hit our stride going into the conference tournament, beating Southwest twice, beating a good Glenn team last night, and I think we’re going to go far into the State’s if we keep that momentum.”
Coach Lee Reavis echoed the words of Hennigan postgame.
“We took a lot of bad shots the first four quarters which allowed them to get some easy opportunities,” Reavis said. “We never gave up on each other, continued to battle, and finally settled in defensively and made [Southwest] take contested shots. I thought we did a great job on the free throw misses, keeping them off the glass and controlling those rebounds.”
“This is a big, exciting win for us. We’ll have to put it behind us tomorrow and go to work to be ready for the first round opponent on Tuesday,” Reavis added.
Although his team came up just short of the Conference Tournament Championship, Southwest coach Guy Shavers still had his signature smile on his face after the game.
“I thought my team gave great effort,” Shavers said. “I thought the atmosphere was great, and we needed some of these close ones to try to figure it out down the stretch. Our team has been winning by double figures pretty much all year, until the end of the year. I hope we can learn from this. I would hate for this to go for naught.”
The two teams are co-Champions for the regular season Piedmont Triad 4-A Conference, due to the fact that the only conference losses that each team had was to the other.
The Northwest Vikings head into the State 4A playoffs with a 21-3 record and as Piedmont Triad Conference 4A Tournament Champions. Southwest Guilford goes into the state playoffs only losing twice all season, both to Northwest Guilford, with a final record of 24-2. Only 22 games will be counted for tournament seeding, with non-conference losses being removed first, followed by non-conference wins. Under no circumstance can a conference game be dropped for state seeding.
NORTHWEST GUILFORD SCORING:
Jalen Gore- 23pts
Tre Turner- 15pts
Reggie Davis- 14pts
Thomas Hennigan- 13pts
Jalen Spicer- 12pts
David Funderburg- 6pts
Riley Edwards- 5pts
SOUTHWEST GUILFORD SCORING:
Kameron Langley- 21pts
Kaymon Mitchell- 19pts
Keyshaun Langley- 18pts
Kobe Langley- 10 pts
Orlando Smith- 7 pts
Cooper Cunningham- 3pts
Christian Martin- 2pts
Game Notes from NWG Staff:
NORTHWEST GUILFORD 88
SOUTHWEST GUILFORD 80
–Northwest Guilford and Southwest Guilford played another epic high school basketball game in the conference Championship game of the Piedmont Triad 4A. The Cowboys controlled the game throughout the 1st half with leads of 12 and 9 points respectively at the end of the 1st and 2nd quarters. The Vikings were able to cut into the Cowboy’s lead in the 4th quarter after being down by as many as 14 points to force the overtime period. Northwest came out in the extra frame with a renewed level of energy and was able to secure a hard fought 88-80 victory.
–Jaylen Gore led Northwest with 23 points 6 rebounds and 5 assists while Tre Turner finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Reggie Davis was huge with a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds Thomas Hennigan contributed some timely free throw shooting on his way to 13 points and 9 rebounds for the Vikings while Jalen Spicer had a near double-double of his own as he totaled 12 points and 9 assists.
— Kameron Langley led Southwest with 21 points. Kaymon Mitchell and Keyshawn Langley scored 19 and 18 points respectively for the Cowboys.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Final NORTHWEST GUILFORD 13 19 17 26 13 88 SOUTHWEST GUILFORD 25 16 21 13 5 80
NORTHWEST GUILFORD 21-3; 9-1: Jaylen Gore 23; Tre Turner 15; Reggie Davis 14; Thomas Hennigan 13; Jalen Spicer 12; David Funderburg 6; Riley Edwards 5
SOUTHWEST GUILFORD 24-2; 9-1: Kameron Langley 21; Kaymon Mitchell 19; Keyshaun Langley 18; Kobe Langley 10; Orlando Smith 7; Cooper Cunningham 3; Christian Marhan 2
Submitted by: Northwest Coaching Staff
Photos by Andy Gore