Northside Ready to Make Run in Tough Blue Ridge District

Northside head basketball coach Billy Pope has been preparing his talented team for what is expected to be one of the tightest Blue Ridge District races in recent years.

Cave Spring senior Jon Evans has his shot batted away by Viking's #14 Jarrien Hairston during Northside's win.
Cave Spring senior Jon Evans has his shot batted away by Viking’s #14 Jarrien Hairston during Northside’s win.

First, he had to work several football players into the Viking court philosophy while they got their basketball legs during non-district competition.

Northside took on Cave Spring in a rematch of an earlier contest easily won by the Knights, one of only two losses the Vikings had encountered entering the game. Things look to be turning the corner for Northside.

Although Cave Spring played without a pair of starters; Connor Baker, out with an ankle injury sustained the previous night in Cave Spring’s River Ridge win over Salem in overtime, and Michael Colozza, sidelined with the flu, Northside had too much beef in the end, downing the Knights 48-26.

Cave Spring hung tough for one quarter before Northside’s defense and control in the paint turned the game in a flash. The Vikings, who trailed 10-6 after the first quarter, dominated in the second, outscoring the Knights 20-2. Things didn’t get much better for Cave Spring after the break, as the Knights could only muster 4 points in a sloppily played third quarter by both squads.

“We stunk it up,” Cave Spring head coach Billy Hicks noted, shaking his head. “We were outplayed in every aspect of the game. When you score only 6 points in two quarters, it’s a backbreaker against a bad team, much less a good team like Northside.”

“We had a great win and showed composure in the overtime win over Salem,” Hicks added.. “We didn’t want to take a step backward.”

“After the first quarter, we started playing defense and played well,” Pope noted. “When we got up by twenty in the second half, we were getting good looks, but just didn’t execute. I’ll be interested in looking at the film to see what happened.”

Both teams remained undefeated in district play as both headed into the meat of their schedule. Pope acknowledged the Blue Ridge, with Byrd, Lord Botetourt and Rockbridge County on the horizon is going to be a dogfight.

“It will be tough;” Pope pointed out. “The Blue Ridge teams have speed, play good defense and Rockbridge has a kid who can score 40-plus on any given night. We’ll have to be looking for some very good shots.”

By Bill Turner

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