Flames get first section win

By MEL PERKINS

The Northgate Flames (1-8, 2-14) welcomed the Dynamos from Springdale into their house last Friday night, and proceeded to turn up the heat until the Dynamos could take no more. The Flame defense pressured the Dynamos and kept their leading scorer in the single digits. And, when the smoke cleared, the Flames had their first section win and their first win since Dec. 8, scorching the Dynamos by the score of 57 – 44.

The Flames came out of the gates fast, playing solid man-to-man defense and getting offensive contributions from six different players in the first quarter. Jacian Sustayta got the Flames started by hitting a jump-shot from just outside the paint to go up 2 – 0, and in just under three minutes the Flames were rolling with the score 10 – 0. Also getting into the action was Raylan Whetsell, Josh Dugan, James Eubanks, Jeff Roberts and Malcolm Randall.

Coach Joe Cangilla had the Flames setting up in the full-court press from early on, and dropping back into a hard-nosed man-defense. And the dividends were paying off because at the end of one quarter of play the Flames were in command with an 18 – 8 lead.
The Northgate defense stayed with the game plan in the second quarter by keeping with the man-defense and using the press to keep the Dynamos off balance. Randall was hitting the boards strong, keeping Springdale from getting any second chance shots. pringdale made some headway, but the Flame defense was still solid. Northgate got contributions on offense from Randall and Roberts, and at halftime, the Flames went into the locker room with a 26 – 20 lead.

The third quarter started with Whetsell getting fouled on his way to the hoop, and he went to the line and hit 1-of-2 to make the score 27 – 20. The Flames continued to shut down the Dynamos on defense, holding them to a mere seven points in the quarter. Randall was cleaning the glass strong in the third quarter as he raked in nine of his 16 rebounds in the quarter. The Flames outscored Springdale 14 – 7 in the third, and Northgate was up 40 – 27 going into the last quarter of play.

The fourth quarter was played much like the third, with Randall grabbing rebounds and scoring 12 of his game-high 25 points. Roberts was working hard on defense as he had the herculean task of stopping the Dynamos’ leading scorer. Whetsell and Roberts also contributed on the offensive side of the court, and when the final buzzer sounded the Flames celebrated with a 57 – 44 victory over the Springdale Dynamos.

The Flames finished the night with two players in double figures. Malcolm Randall finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds, and Jacian Sustayta finished with 10 points.

What stood out most of all over the four quarters of play was the hard work that the Flames team had put in on defense. “The kids are playing. They are playing hard. We are getting really good at a few things, and I think we are really coming along,” Coach Joe Cangilla said later.

The outstanding defensive effort by the whole Northgate team was what pushed them into the win column for the first time in a little over a month. “This might have been the first game that I stayed with the defense the whole time because the kids just loved it. I asked them at half time what do you like and they said ‘keep it, coach’, and that’s a credit to them. The defense was playing hard, so hard, and that is always going to pay off.” Cangilla spoke highly of Jeff Roberts’ defensive play, saying, “He had one job. We knew that [Springdale player] was chasing 1,000, but we didn’t want it to happen here. That was the goal, and he jumped on that goal.”