Flames can’t catch a break

Northgate’s Josh Dugan adds to the Flames’ efforts to defeat Sto-Rox Tuesday night. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By MEL PERKINS

The Northgate Flames continue to struggle and matters didn’t get any better when the Flames hosted the Vikings from Sto-Rox (6-1, 8-5) on Tuesday night. The Vikings entered the game tied for first place with Summit Academy, but Northgate would test them early. However, the pace of the game would take its toll and the Flames would fold late in the game, losing by the score 79- 52.

The Vikings scored quickly to start the game, but the Flames answered them basket for basket. Northgate had multiple players score in the first quarter, and it wasn’t your usual cast getting on the board. The Flames got contributions from Malcolm Randall, Ryan Puskar, Nate O’Mara, Josh Dugan, and Raylan Whetsell to keep things tight in the opening quarter.

With 6:01 on the clock, the Flames were down 2-0 when Whetsell drilled a three-ball to go up 3-2, and then stole the ball off a driving Viking player and took it the other way for a Flame bucket and Northgate was up 5-2.

Things got close as the quarter came to an end, but O’Mara hit for two with 10 seconds left on the clock and after one quarter of play, the score was knotted at 13.

Dugan hit two free throws to start the second quarter to make the score 15 – 13, and that would be the last lead that the Flames would hold. All but two of Northgate’s points came from the free throw line in the second quarter, with the Flames going 12 for 12 from the charity stripe. But, the Flames were outscored 25 – 14 in the quarter and trailed 38 – 27 going in to the locker room at halftime.

The Flames got hot from the perimeter in the third quarter with James Eubanks knocking down a couple of the threes and Puskar hitting one in an attempt to gain some ground, but the Vikings never blinked. And, after three quarters of play, the Flames were down 55 – 42.

The relentless defense and the pace of the game took its toll on the Flames, and when it was all said and done, the Flames fell to a very good Sto-Rox team by the score of 79 – 52. Malcolm Randall finished the night with 14 points and 15 rebounds, and from the free throw line, he was 10 of 12.