High School Basketball:
Published: Jan 05, 2013 06:00 PM
Modified: Jan 06, 2013 12:13 PM
Chapel Hill High Schools basketball teams continue to look very much like a state contenders this year.
The CHHS girls only loss, 42-33, came on the road last week at undefeated Northern Nash.
It was a long trip down there and back, Chapel Hill coach Sherry Norris said. But it was a good trip because Northern Nash is a good basketball team. They play really good defense and they play hard all the time.
Northern Nash (10-0) was No. 1 in Maxpreps rankings for North Carolinas 3A teams and, after downing CHHS, rose six spots to No. 10 among all classifications. Chapel Hill (12-1) was No. 3 in the 3A ranking and dropped to No. 18 overall.
Chapel Hill, which usually relies on a balanced scoring attack, ran into an even more balanced team at Northern Nash. Seven Tigers scored for CHHS, led by 10 points apiece from Jessica Wall and Jamella Smith. But eight players scored for Northern Nash, and the 10 points it got from its bench proved to be the difference.
It was a very physical ball game, and it was a very hostile environment, Norris said. Our players need to learn to play in that situation.
They set a goal before the season that they want to win a state Norris noted the tremendous defensive effort by Chapel Hills Laura Musalem, who grabbed seven rebounds and six steals.
Chapel Hill made the 85-mile trip to Rocky Mount to cap a series of five games in eight days. It made for a long day for the Tigers, who were playing a quadruple-header with boys and girls JVs and varsities.
Before Christmas, the female Tigers defeated a pair of 4A teams Richmond County and Mecklenburg Hough to win the Carolina in The Pines tournament at Pinecrest. Then they won three straight in the Bunn Christmas Tournament, downing Wake Forest Rolesville, Kinston and Bunn.Boys win fourth straight
The CHHS boys are 10-3 and ranked No. 14 in the 3A class after a solid 53-34 win Wednesday at Northern Nash.
Anthony Vanhook scored a game-high 17 points and Brian Thorton 12 to lead eight CHHS scorers. That offensive depth was balanced with a just as impressive defense, which held every Knight to single digit scoring or less.
Our whole schedule is designed to challenge us physically and mentally, not just the basketball competition but the mental toughness as well, Chapel Hill coach Tod Morgan said. A long trip might come in the playoffs, so you have to see if you can handle that.
Morgan said the Tigers had to man up a little bit after managing to get ahead by just 24-19 at halftime. CHHS pulled away to a 43-30 lead in the third quarter and outscored Northern Nash 10-4 over the final 8 minutes.
I thought our team responded really well after our halftime talk and a couple of little adjustments. We dominated in the third quarter, and we played through contact. The officials were just letting them play, and thats fine if you learn to play through it. In the first half, I think we were looking for (officials); in the second half, the third quarter especially, we did better just playing through the contact.
The long trip was productive, he said.
It was worth going down there to get a win, but what was just as good was how we got the win.
The Tigers face a tough test to finish out their nonconference schedule: playing Tuesday at 4A Roxboro Person. (The CHHS girls will host Person on Tuesday while the boys are in Roxboro, JVs at 6 p.m. and varsities at 7:30 p.m.) They then open their Carolina 3A Conference schedule with girls and boys games Thursday with Orange.
Playing on the road again in a tough environment like Roxboro will be good for us, Morgan said. Itll be a large crowd, a vocal crowd, a somewhat hostile crowd.