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Heights’ defense overwhelms Northwest

Published Jan. 7 at 11:11 p.m. | Last updated Jan. 7 at 11:13 p.m.

Northwest’s game plan against Heights on Tuesday night was focused on limiting turnovers against a team that is constantly forcing them.

“I told them if we keep it to less than 10 turnovers in the game, I thought we’d have a good chance to win,” Northwest coach Chris Collins said. “If it’s between 10 and 15, it would come down to the wire, and if it was more than 15, that meant there’s probably going to be a long night for us, and we had 16 turnovers.”

The Falcons grabbed 10 steals in the first half alone, and despite a third-quarter defensive slip, Heights’ transition basketball carried it to a 70-44 win over Northwest.

Heights built a 15-point lead in the quarter while holding Northwest to four points, and forcing seven turnovers. The lead was 16 points at halftime.

“We told them at halftime that we had done a great job. Anytime you’ve only given up 16 points at half, you’ve had a good half of defensive basketball,” Heights coach Joe Auer said. “We just wanted to make sure that we came out and continued to defend properly.”

Heights strayed from its first half defensive success, and the Grizzlies began beating Heights to rebounds and slowing its transition into offense. Northwest outscored Heights 20-18 while only giving up one turnover in the third period.

“I think effort makes up for a lot of miscues, because you’re always going to make mistakes,” Collins said, “however if you make a mistake with some effort, usually it’s going to balance out. We kind of started to do that in the third quarter.”

A three-pointer from Semaj Hervey, and a 5-0 run to start the fourth quarter stopped Northwest’s momentum, and carried Heights to a comfortable finish.

Heights relied on a team approach defensively, while pushing into transition quickly and sharing the ball on offense. Four Heights players finished with double-digit points, while six players finished with steals.

“When you have that many kids making that many plays, it really speaks volumes,” Auer said. “I thought we had eight guys all contributing defensively tonight. We don’t have any superstars, we just have good, solid players that must play connected as a unit, and if we do that we have a chance to be very successful this season.”

Hervey and Arie Johnson ended with 11 points, while Ealy Bell and Davon Gill added 10 each for Heights. Northwest was led by Nick Williams with 14 points.

Northwest41220844
Heights1913182070

Northwest: Williams 3 8-9 14, Cobb 4 0-2 8, Carr 4 1-2 9, Caldwell 0 0-0 0, Johnston 2 0-0 4, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Nicholson 3 0-0 7, Miller 1 0-0 2, Hamilton 0 0-0 0, Meyer 0 0-0 0, Grant 0 0-1 0, Short 0 0-0 0. Totals 17(1) 9-14 44.

Heights: Hervey 3 4-6 11, Bell 4 2-4 10, A. Johnson 5 0-0 11, Gill 4 2-3 10, Ellis 3 0-1 6, King 1 2-2 5, Lowe 2 0-0 4, Wilbeck 3 2-3 9, Bynum 2 0-0 4, J. Johnson 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Howard 0 0-0 0, Banner 0 0-0 0. Totals 27(4) 12-19 70.