Photo: Northpoint Christian’s Nailah Herrera goes up for two of her game-high 12 points in the Lady Trojans’ win over Harding on Tuesday, Jan. 23. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
A nine-day layoff thanks to the snow really showed for the Northpoint Christian School basketball teams Tuesday night at Harding Academy, with the Lady Trojans able to just hold on at the end for a close, albeit, low-scoring victory, and the Trojans struggling in the second half on their way to a 20-point loss.
Northpoint’s girls had a nine-point lead with 55 seconds left in their game, but Harding put on a furious rally, scoring the last six points before the Lady Trojans ended up with a 33-30 victory.
Nailah Herrera’s 12 points and Lillie Milligan’s eight points led the Northpoint attack.
“I was proud of both of them the way that they kind of showed some leadership out there because they’ve had the most minutes from last year,” said Northpoint coach Barry Gray about their play.
The Lady Trojans took a 10-point lead at 16-6 after one quarter with Kathy Beach leading the way with six points in the quarter.
Harding cut the difference to 18-15 at halftime as the Lady Trojans offense went stone cold, only producing a basket by Herrera in the entire quarter. Meanwhile, Gabi Ruvalcaba paced the Lady Lion offense with all four points she scored in the game.
More defense showed in the third quarter, with Northpoint outscoring Harding 9-5, thanks to balanced scoring that featured a three-pointer by Milligan.
Harding outscored the Lady Trojans 10-6 in the final quarter, but at one point in the final eight minutes Northpoint held a 29-20 lead and took the same advantage into the final minute before the final fury by the Lady Lions came up just short of stealing a win from the Lady Trojans.
Bella Rae Austin led Harding with eight points in the loss.
The Northpoint boys held a one-point lead at 13-12 after one quarter of their game with Harding. But the Lions took a four-point lead at 21-17 midway through the second quarter and held a 28-26 edge at halftime.
The Lions took charge of the contest in the third quarter with a 35-28 lead nearly four minutes into the period. That lead quickly became 16 at 50-34 when the quarter ended and with two minutes left in the game, the margin had ballooned to 17 at 60-43. With reserves playing the final minutes of the contest, Harding got the final three points to grow the final bulge to 20 at 63-43.
Gray felt the layoff and the Lions’ depth was a difference in the contest.
“We were basically playing with six kids and they were playing about 11,” Gray said. “We’ll get better and we get our legs back for when we play St. George’s. We should be in better condition by that time.”
That will need to come soon, because the meeting with St. George’s comes up Friday night on the Collierville, Tennessee campus.
Ayden Kelly’s 13 points led the Northpoint attack against Harding, eight of which came in the first half. Patton Huxford added eight points, but his last four came in the final quarter as the Lions were putting the game out of reach.
Harding had two players in double figures, led by Chazaiah Curry with 18 points, followed by 13 points from Sean Taylor, six of which came in the third period of play.
DeSoto County scoreboard
Monday, Jan. 22
JUCO men’s basketball
Copiah-Lincoln 103, Northwest 70
JUCO women’s basketball
Northwest 78, Copiah-Lincoln 68
Tuesday, Jan. 23
Prep boys basketball
Harding Academy 63, Northpoint Christian 43
Prep girls basketball
Northpoint Christian 33, Harding Academy 30