Northgate wins second game in a row

Northgate stand-out Malcolm Randall scored 29 points and had 14 rebounds as the Flames beat Propel Braddock Hills Tuesday night. Photo by Tom Stiner for The Citizen

By MEL PERKINS

The Northgate Flames boys’ basketball team has won three of their last five games and are on a two-game win streak after knocking off the Lions from Propel Braddock Hills High School this past Tuesday night. The Flames (3-9, 4-15) beat the Lions (3-9, 3-15) by the score of 59 – 35 to win their third conference game of the season in a defensive battle that was highlighted by the high degree of physicality in which it was played.

The Lions jumped out to a 4 – 0 lead, but it was the Flames that roared back with Malcolm Randall leading the charge. Randall scored the next six points before Jeff Roberts stole the ball and drove coast- to-coast for the lay-in. Raylan Whetsell got into the action, slicing and dicing his way to the basket, and when he was done the Flames were on top with a 14 – 11 lead.

Ryan Puskar hit Randall going to the hoop with time expiring in the quarter, and after one quarter of play the Flames were up 16 – 13. They would not look back. The Flames never trailed the rest of the game, and they actually turned the heat up on defense in the second quarter.

Roberts scored to start the second quarter, and the Coach Joe Cangilla turned on the pressure while rotating between zone and man-to-man defenses to keep the Lions on their heels. The Northgate defense held Propel to just four points in the quarter while scoring eight to take a seven-point lead into the locker room at half time with the score 24 – 17.

The third quarter opened with the Lions closing the gap on the Northgate lead to make the score 24 – 20, but the Flames took the punch from the Lions and stuck to their style of play. Randall got fouled shooting a three, and he went to the line and made two of the three shots. Then Benjamin Brooks drilled a three from deep in the corner, and James Eubanks followed that with a three-pointer with just under a minute left in the quarter.

Eubanks wasn’t done though, because after he got a steal on defense, Puskar hit him in stride going to the hoop and he laid it in for two to beat the buzzer. The Flames were up 37 – 26 going into the final quarter. After the game, Cangilla said, “I got to tell you, James Eubanks came in, had a big three-pointer, a big steal at the end of the third quarter. It really gave us a nice spark and then we went on a little run, and I think that’s when we put it away.”

The Flame defense was too much for Propel at this point, and the constant pressure had worn them down. “The guys are playing together, we’re playing as a team. The first thing we do in practice every day is conditioning, and it’s showing. The chemistry is really building,” Cangilla said.

Randall capitalized on the Propel’s soft zone defense in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his game-high 29 points in the final quarter, and the Flames outscored the Lions 22 – 9, allowing Northgate to cruise to a 59 – 35 win.

Malcolm Randall finished the night with 29 points and 14 rebounds.

The Flames travel to Sto-Rox tonight for another conference match-up.