Heights boys survive Northwest scare

Published Jan. 8 at 8:21 a.m. | Last updated March 10 at 8:56 a.m.

Heights' boys team had no offensive rebounds at halftime of its game with Northwest at Koch Arena on Saturday night, and Falcons coach Joe Auer was not pleased.

"We had zero offensive rebounds at halftime. Zero," Auer said. "They had eight. We told the kids, 'Statistically, we cannot perform at a lower level than we did in the first half. And yet, there's hardly any separation.

"For whatever reason, we looked flat. We just looked like we were tired. We really tried to convince them at halftime that it was all wrapped up in that statistic. You are not going to beat anybody, let alone somebody of high quality, 0-8."

Heights corrected that in the third quarter with five offensive rebounds as it overcame a five-point halftime deficit to beat Northwest 56-52 in a battle of City League unbeatens.

An estimated 5,000 attended the game and City League athletic director J Means estimated 10,000 fans attended the two days of games at Koch Arena.

Heights (6-0, 5-0) extended its winning streak to 50 games.

The Falcons' first offensive rebound came with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter, when senior Gavin Thurman rebounded a three-point miss and scored to cut Northwest's lead to 32-26. That started an 8-0 run as Terrence Moore scored on a spinning fastbreak basket and a jumper, and Perry Ellis made a putback.

Heights tied the score at 32-all with that run, but Northwest's Spenser Gales scored inside to retake the lead at 34-32 with 3:09 to go.

But Heights then went on a 12-0 run as it held Northwest (5-1, 5-1) scoreless for more than six minutes.

"We probably missed five, six layups," Northwest coach Chris Collins said. "That's the ballgame."

Northwest, which shot 27.6 percent, was led by Craig Nicholson's 18 points and five steals. Gales had 13 points and 18 rebounds.

The Grizzlies cut Heights' lead to 53-48 when Nicholson hit a deep three with 45.9 seconds to go, but Thurman scored on a fastbreak. Northwest got two baskets from Gales in the final 7.5 seconds.

Heights was led by Ellis' 20 points, 10 in the final period. Moore had 16 points, hitting 6 of 8 shots, while Thurman had nine points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

"We just played a lot better defensively in the second half," Auer said. "We were fortunate to stay close. I told the kids (at halftime) we should probably be down 16 to 20 as poorly as we rebounded.

"But it was a great game, great effort by both teams."

Northwest (5-1, 5-1) 18 11 5 18 — 52 Heights (6-0, 5-0) 11 13 13 19 — 56

NORTHWEST: Miller 1 3-4 5, Tuggle 2 0-0 6, Gales 6 1-2 13, Carter 2 0-0 6, Nicholson 5 6-8 18 Jones 0 0-0 0, Moncada 2 0-0 4, Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 (6) 10-14 52.

HEIGHTS: Moore 6 2-2 16, Thurman 4 0-0 9, Ellis 6 8-10 20, Lynch 1 1-2 4, Bell 3 1-1 7, Lattimore 0 0-0 0, Reed 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 (4) 12-15 56.

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