Northern falls to Neuse in consolation finals

Dec. 28, 2013 @ 11:02 PM

Matt Kalaf’s 3-pointer from the left corner less than 20 seconds into the third quarter was a sign of things to come for Neuse Christian in the second half Saturday against Northern Vance.

Kalaf’s jumper gave Neuse a 37-18 advantage in the consolation finals at the South Granville Holiday Invitational.

Kalaf, listed as a 6-foot-7 sophomore, knocked down three more long-range jumpers in the third as Neuse (8-5) buried Northern (5-6), leading by as many as 32 points before claiming a 72-56 win.

Kalaf finished with seven 3-pointers and 23 points. His Lions’ squad tallied nine of its 12 triples on the afternoon in the second half.

“Our defensive rotation was poor,” said Northern head coach Wilton Baskett. “They do have a nice-looking team. I wouldn’t take anything from them.”

Neuse stayed hot in the fourth quarter as Kalaf drained a 3 from the left wing before Justin Storey came up with a steal and an emphatic one-handed throwdown to give the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association Class 1-A Lions a 69-37 lead with 4:40 to play.

Kalaf was named to the all-tournament team along with teammate Dondre Griffin, who finished with 11 points Saturday.

Kris Haywood led Northern with 13 points and Tyrie Williams had 11 points. Tommie Reed continued his stellar play in the post and finished with nine points.

“I thought Kris Haywood looked more like himself today,” said Baskett. “Tommie Reed had a very good tournament. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t make the all-tournament team. Although he’s not a flashy player, I thought he was my best player on the floor for three games.”

The Vikings played without injured leading scorer Tavin Moore as they did in a win over Raleigh Athens Drive Friday and through much of a 10-point loss Thursday to Wayne Country Day.

Neuse lost to Wake Forest Heritage on day one of the fourth annual event before a win over host South Granville Friday.

The tournament featured 16 teams and two brackets. Heritage and Village Christian Academy of Fayetteville played for a tourney championship Friday night while Greenfield of Wilson and Durham Jordan were scheduled to meet in the finals of the other bracket. Scores from those contests were not available at press time.

Northern returns to action Friday at home against 3-A Big Eight Conference foe Chapel Hill.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.