Vikings rebound with 57-41 win over Athens Drive
Northern Vance got a lift from its bench in Thursday’s loss to Wayne Country Day on day one of the South Granville Holiday Invitational. Those reserves became starters on day two as the Vikings bounced back with a commanding 57-41 win Friday morning over Raleigh Athens Drive.
Northern head coach Wilton Baskett started a brand new group Friday: the five that finished the game against Wayne Country Day.
Athens Drive (0-11) stayed within striking distance until the Vikings (5-5) created some separation in the third quarter.
“Yesterday, we were just as flat as the floor,” said Baskett. “We came up here trying to get better, not necessarily win the tournament, but get better. And I was very much so pleased with the effort today.”
Erdaywin Lewis led the third quarter charge as Northern ended the period on an 8-1 run. Lewis scored three consecutive buckets inside including a two-handed slam in transition to make it 39-25.
Lewis’ 14 points led the Vikings, who played without their top scorer and point guard Tavin Moore. Moore, who was injured Thursday, isn’t expected to play today when Northern meets the winner of Neuse Christian against South Granville at 12:30 p.m.
Lewis and Tommie Reed continue to make strides on the low blocks for the Vikings. Reed tallied seven points Friday in his first start of the season after a 10-point effort Thursday. Each player has shown a knack for converting second-chance points.
“We have to have the mindset of going after the ball,” said Reed. “When the ball comes off the rim, it’s ours. If it’s on the floor, it’s ours.”
Reed said Moore’s absence means opportunity for others.
“It just means somebody has to step up,” said Reed.
Tyrie Williams, DyQuan Marrow and Tim Buchanan each started Friday, filling Moore’s guard duties by committee.
Kris Haywood had eight points off the bench for Northern and Jemario Marrow had seven.
Baskett said one of the keys Friday was a better line of communication. Another was an increased focus on applying defensive pressure as Athens Drive struggled to develop any consistency on offense.
“I felt a whole lot more relaxed with them today,” said Baskett. “I tried to do a whole lot more teaching than anything else today. I enjoyed them today. They had their ears on and they were paying attention.”
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