Flames continue to struggle as season winds down

Northgate’s Chad Anderson dips inside the South Side defense to scoop it in for the score as the Flames played their last home game of the season Tuesday night. Photo by Tom Streiner for The Citizen

By MEL PERKINS

The Northgate Flames wrapped up their home schedule on Tuesday when they fell to the Rams from South Side Beaver, on Senior Recognition Night, by the score of 90-53.
Northgate (3-18) came into the game struggling as a defensive unit, allowing their opponents to score on average 74 points a game. South Side came into the game looking to exploit the Flames' lack of experience with their pressure defense.

The Rams dictated the pace of the game early with the pressure defense, and the Flames seemed to be hanging with them. Both teams were getting points in transition, and when the pace slowed, Northgate remained patient. They were getting into their set offense and working the ball around the perimeter until they could drop it into the interior, but they were struggling to finish.
With 2:30 left in the first quarter, Malcolm Randall got the rebound and took it up for two, and the Flames were trailing by one with the score 13 - 12. The Flames also got contributions from Daniel Pinno, Stephon Adams, and Tyler Mangone in the first quarter. After eight minutes of play, the Flames were keeping it close, but the Rams were up 21 - 16. After the game, Coach Perry Harrop said, "I don't think we played really well, but we were still hanging in there. But, the turnovers in the back court, and the turnovers at mid-court - you're just giving the other team easy baskets."

The second quarter started with the Flames struggling on offense, unable to score until almost three minutes into the quarter. Northgate broke the dry spell when Chad Anderson stole the ball and drove the length of the floor, laying it in for two. But, the South Side pressure was wreaking havoc on the Flames' offense, and the Rams converted on every opportunity. Mangone scored six of his 20 points in the second quarter, but South Side was spreading it out on the Flames. At the end of two quarters of play, the Flames were down 51 - 29.

Mangone opened up the third quarter with a three-pointer from deep in the corner, and Pinno and Randall got in on the action too, getting baskets inside the paint. The Flames showed no signs of folding it up, and Anderson gave everybody a glimpse of things to come when he sliced and diced, and slashed his way through the Rams' zone defense. But, the South Side defense was wearing on the Flames. After three quarters of play, Northgate trailed 78 - 46.

The fourth quarter continued in the same manner, with South Side pressuring the Flames and getting points off the turn-overs. Both teams went to the reserves early in the fourth quarter, and when the quarter ended, Northgate had absorbed a 90 - 53 loss to the South Side Rams.
The pressure defense that South Side employed fulfilled its purpose, and the Flames struggled mightily against it. Harrop spoke about the turn-overs, saying, "We had too many turn-overs, and when we were getting set on defense we weren't guarding who we were supposed to be guarding. We were giving them wide open shots. It just came down to bad defense and too many turn-overs."

Tyler Mangone led the Flames in scoring with 20 points on the night, followed by Chad Anderson with 13. Senior Dan Pinno scored nine in his last home game.