Northern pulls out dramatic win at Webb
All three meetings between Northern Vance and J.F. Webb last season came down to the wire with the Warriors finding ways to win each one.
Northern finally found a way to win Saturday, outlasting its 3-A Big Eight Conference rival 57-54 despite being down a starter and with another one battling an injury.
“They just stepped up,” said Northern coach Randolph Crews.
Crews has only two seniors, Anecia Wilkerson and Kenya Perry, and Perry fouled out in the third quarter.
In the end, it was a sophomore taking the biggest step. Briana Nelson’s go-ahead 3-pointer rimmed in for Northern (3-13, 2-5) with 45 seconds to play, making it 56-54 before Nelson split at the line with 17 seconds left.
Those were Nelson’s only four points of the contest, which was originally scheduled for earlier in the week but postponed twice due to the weather.
“She’s a sophomore, but really she’s a freshman,” Crews said of Nelson. “First time playing varsity basketball. In this environment, with the crowd so loud.”
Webb had a couple of chances to equalize in the waning seconds but couldn’t connect.
Northern was playing without Brianna Waller, a scoring and rebounding threat on the inside, and sophomore Jackie Miller was playing injured.
“I told the girls every loose ball we have to get,” said Crews. “We just have to play hard.”
Miller has been strong all season for the Vikes. She led the team with 13 points Saturday, scoring 11 of those in the second half.
“Jackie Miller is going to be a beast before it’s all said and done,” said Crews.
It looks like she’ll have some help too.
Crews also liked the poise he saw from guard KyNyiah Landrum, who finished with 10 points.
Perry, who had 17 points in Friday’s loss to Cedar Ridge, also had 10 despite not playing the fourth. Kayleigh Spencer had nine points and Wilkerson tallied eight.
Webb, donning pink jerseys for breast cancer awareness, was led by Starr Jones’ 14 points and Nakiyah Bullock had 13 points.
Northern was also supporting the cancer cause with its players wearing pink shoes and socks.
The Vikings visits Orange Tuesday while Webb hosts Chapel Hill.
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