Northern Nash tops Southern Nash for 14th straight win
BY SAMUEL EVERS
Friday, January 11, 2019
BAILEY — Joseph Cherry-Blue, Northern Nash's leading scorer entering Friday night's game against Southern Nash, has the ultimate luxury. The senior has no unnecessary pressure to live up to that title.
"I believe everybody can fill it up in spots," he said after the game. "Everybody can bring something to the table. I'm not even worried about scoring."
Indeed, Cherry-Blue is one of many capable players for the Knights (14-1, 2-0), who beat Southern Nash (7-6, 0-2) on the road on Friday by a 67-56 tally, a result that made coach Henry Drake much happier than the three-point victory they eked out on Tuesday against Wilson Hunt.
The defense was the talking point for Drake after the win over the Firebirds, although Cherry-Blue thought another strategy from his coach helped as well.
"He knows I like to be yelled at," he said, laughing. "If I get yelled at I play hard."
Cherry-Blue finished with 16 points, right at his season average; Sencere Battle added 11; Darquez Flowers had six plus four assists; and Sam Page added 13 on three made 3-pointers in a balanced scoring effort.
The Firebirds, who were led by 14 from Chris Allen and 11 from Darius Edmundson, trailed by 14 at the half but made a run toward the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth to pull it to eight points, but Page hit a 3-pointer with six minutes left to push it to 11, then another jumper to make it a 13-point lead a possession later, and the lead never shrank again to single digits.
"I'm pleased," Drake said, "especially considering the way we played defensively on Tuesday. To come here in a hostile environment like Southern Nash had — it was full of energy, the crowd was great — to come out and play this way defensively, I'm proud."
On one particular play in the first quarter, when Ta'Rod Brown grabbed three straight rebounds after two misses, made a layup, then got fouled, Drake reacted with a burst of emotion he might have kept reserved in the Knights' previous game.
To hear him tell it, that show of encouragement came from his excitement on the defensive end.
"It was the defense," Drake said. "The intensity was there."
The victory gives the Knights a 2-0 start in conference play, and a 14th-straight victory overall.
It's a long way from an 0-1 start.
"We got to get hungrier if we're going to win the state championship this year," Cherry-Blue said. “We got some dogs.”
Northern Nash 51, Southern Nash 27
Before the Northern Nash boys' basketball team found its defense and eventually a win, the Northern Nash girls team (4-7, 2-0) defeated Southern Nash (4-9, 0-2) on the road by 24 points.
The Knights now have a nice streak of their own going, with Friday's victory being their fourth straight.