Thrice a thriller: Webb eliminates Northern
Something about the Northern Vance-J.F. Webb rivalry brought out the best in both teams this season. And something about the matchup brought out the best in Warrior freshman Nakiyah Bullock, especially.
Bullock poured in 19 points off the bench in Webb’s 60-55 3-A Carolina Conference Tournament win over Northern Monday, putting the fourth-seeded Warriors in the semifinals at No. 1 Chapel Hill Wednesday.
“She made some clutch shots in the second half and kept playing good defense,” Webb coach Kenneth Rogers said of Bullock. “We were glad to see her play so good tonight.”
The Warriors, who earned a state playoff bid with the fourth-place finish, won both regular season matchups against the Vikings. One came in a five-point overtime win and the other by one point after Webb withstood a late Northern rally in Henderson.
“We are so evenly matched, it’s just unreal the way we compete against each other,” said Rogers. “This third time was the best win I’ve had in a long, long time. This one was great.”
Bullock tallied nine points in the third quarter as Webb erased a 15-point halftime deficit to take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Bullock converted a key three-point play at the start of the previous overtime win in Oxford and had 15 points in the last meeting, sinking the go-ahead shot.
A star freshman was the common denominator for the Warriors. For Northern, it was letting rivalry wins slip out of its grasp — wins that made the difference in making the state playoffs or not.
“Every way you could lose to Webb, we lost to them this year,” said Northern coach Randolph Crews.
Northern was outscored 24-8 in the third quarter as the home team made its comeback Monday.
“We had to help (our team) understand you don’t quit no matter what,” Rogers said.
A rare seven-point possession provided the biggest momentum swing in favor of the Warriors.
Down 41-34, Bullock drove to the rim, converted a layup and was fouled. A technical foul was also issued to a Northern player following the play.
Bullock sank the personal foul free throw and split the technical freebies. Webb retained possession and tied the game with a 3-pointer from Janae Carroll, who finished with 12 points.
A Bullock 3 gave Webb a 10-point advantage in the fourth quarter.
“Once you get one jumper to fall, everybody’s eyes get big,” said Crews.
Northern played most of the fourth quarter without scoring threat Tanaua White, who fouled out early on. The Vikings battled back though, trimming the lead to two points with 1:51 to go. But the Vikings couldn’t net an equalizer.
Kechae Parker led the Vikes with 25 points and Jazmine Haywood had 13.
Northern loses two players from this squad to graduation, Haywood and White.
“We have a whole lot of talent coming back, we just have to commit to summertime,” said Crews.
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