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Energetic Pirates shoot past Northridge for 9th at Plano

Ottawa Pirates logo
Ottawa Pirates logo

PLANO — Playing their fourth game in as many days, energy was going to be the name of the game Saturday afternoon for the Ottawa Pirates and Niles Northridge Prep Knights.

And it was the Pirates producing that jolt — in the form of 3-pointers and defense — during the initial 16 minutes of action.
The Pirates canned five treys in the opening quarter and built a 14-point halftime advantage. That strong first half of play thrust fourth-seeded Ottawa to a 48-39 win over No. 6 seed Northridge in the ninth-place game of the 55th annual Plano Christmas Classic at Reaper Gymnasium.
"When you're playing your fourth game in four days, energy is a big thing, and I thought we came out with a lot of energy," Pirates coach Mark Cooper said, "and, consequently, we got to some loose balls, we were disruptive defensively. And, you know, it's not a coincidence when you have good energy you shoot the ball well, and we shot it a little bit better today."
Wyatt Hill (11 points) began Ottawa's first-quarter 3-point barrage, draining one 30 seconds in. Tyler Carson, Myles Tucker and Kendall Brent all followed suit before Hill connected again from long distance. The Pirates were 5-for-10 from 3-point range during the opening stanza and led 17-6 after one.
Ottawa (7-5) outscored Northridge (8-5) 13-10 in the second quarter to lead 30-16 at the intermission. Included in that scoring was an old-fashioned three-point play following a nice move inside by Andrew Evola and another 3-ball from Hill. The Pirates went 7-of-14 from beyond the arc in the first half; Hill was 3 of 5.
"We got some open 3s. We shot 9 for 23 (for the game), a good percentage as a team (39.1)," said Ottawa senior Kendall Brent, who hit all three of his attempts — including a pair of huge ones late in the third period. "Like Coop says, when you start making baskets, (you get better looks), and we were just taking better shots. (Our offense during the first half) was just all on point."
"They shoot a lot of 3s, and we knew that coming in," said veteran Knights coach Will Rey, who was formerly a head coach at the NCAA Division I level (Loyola University Chicago in the late 1980s/early '90s), "and I just felt in the first half we really didn't challenge them, let them shoot. No. 10 (Hill) in particular got two eyes on the rim, and, you know, he's a proven shooter. Credit to them for making the shots when they were open in the first half.
"Our performance on both ends of the court (during the first half) was indicative of the (lack of) energy we came out with. I think we picked up the energy level (in the second half), and that turned the game around for us, but you get down by 14 at halftime, it's hard to come back against a good team. And they're a good team."
The Knights cut their deficit down to seven points on four occasions in the second half, including 40-33 at the end of three periods after a couple of 3s in a 30-second span by Joe Thursby. However, Ottawa got two straight 3-pointers from Kendall Brent (11 points, nine rebounds) near the conclusion of the third — which Cooper called backbreakers — a key steal/layup by Joey Owens at the outset of the fourth quarter and a take in the lane by Hill at the three-minute mark to seal the deal.
"I mean, give credit to Northridge (in the second half) ... but when it got right down to the fourth quarter, we made some stops to put the game away," Cooper said.
The Pirate "D" limited the 6-foot-4, sharpshooting senior guard Thursby, an all-tournament selection who's committed to Division III Carleton College in Minnesota, to only eight shots and the same number of points. Cooper cited Owens' defense on him.
"I want to say out of this whole tournament, I feel like this was the most focused we've been on defense," Kendall Brent said.
At Reaper Gymnasium, Plano
Ottawa 48, Northridge Prep 39
NORTHRIDGE (39) — Thursby 3-8 0-0 8, J. Kane 0-2 0-0 0, Conroy 4-9 1-2 11, Gadula 0-5 0-0 0, Strenk 2-5 0-0 4, Abukhlil 2-4 0-0 5, D. Kane 1-1 0-0 2, Holohan 1-3 0-0 2, Menocal 3-8 1-1 7, Samano 0-0 0-0 0, Evans 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-47 2-3 39.
OTTAWA (48) — Owens 1-2 2-3 4, R. Brent 0-1 2-2 2, Hill 4-11 0-0 11, Stevenson 2-7 0-0 5, Carson 4-6 0-0 9, Tucker 1-7 0-0 3, K. Brent 3-5 2-4 11, Dougherty 0-0 0-0 0, Evola 1-1 1-1 3, Gould 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-42 7-10 48.
Northridge (8-5) 6 10 17 6 — 39
Ottawa (7-5) 17 13 10 8 — 48
3-point goals — Northridge 5-23 (Thursby 2-6, Conroy 2-6, Abukhlil 1-3, Holohan 0-2, Menocal 0-2, Gadula 0-4); Ottawa 9-23 (K. Brent 3-3, Hill 3-7, Carson 1-1, Stevenson 1-5, Tucker 1-6, Gould 0-1). Rebounds — Northridge 25 (Menocal 8); Ottawa 30 (K. Brent 9). Assists — Northridge 10 (D. Kane 3); Ottawa 10 (Hill 3). Steals — Northridge 8 (Gadula 2, Holohan 2); Ottawa 10 (Owens 3, Carson 3). Blocked shots — Northridge 0; Ottawa 2 (Owens 1, K. Brent 1). Turnovers — Northridge 16; Ottawa 17. Total fouls (none fouled out) — Northridge 13; Ottawa 8.

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