SPRINGFIELD — In a back and forth battle the Springfield Wildcats mounted a late comeback Friday to hand Northmont its first loss of the season 55-52.
The Thunderbolts took a 41-35 when Jabari Perkins buried a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and that seemed to get the Wildcats’ attention. From there Springfield began to battle back. The Wildcats cut the Thunderbolts’ lead to one but Northmont got a free throw from Arius Spears and a basket inside by Perkins to take a 47-43 lead.
Springfield misfired on its next possession giving the Thunderbolts a prime opportunity to put the Wildcats on the ropes, but Northmont also put up an errant shot. Danny Davis scored inside to cut Northmont’s lead to 47-45 and the Thunderbolts committed a turnover to give the ball back to Springfield. The Wildcats missed inside but 6-foot, 7-inch Leonard Taylor got the rebound and scored to tie the game.
The turning point came when Northmont missed a 3-point attempt and Davis countered by burying a trey to put Springfield up 50-47 with 1:46 remaining. Rodney Richardson buried a 3-pointer to pull Northmont to within a point, 53-52, with 15 seconds remaining.
After a Northmont timeout Michael Wallace managed to break into the open down court and took a pass to score an easy layup to ice the victory. Northmont put up a last ditch 3-point attempt that missed the mark as the Wildcats walked away with a narrow win.
“This game had a lot of peaks and valleys in it, a lot of ebbs and flows,” said Northmont Coach Collin Abels. “We got down early and I was proud of the way our guys responded. We went toe-to-toe with them for a while and had a six point lead at one point in the fourth quarter, but they made some plays and we had some good looks and good shots but sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way.”
Springfield took a 14-9 lead by the end of the first quarter and went on to open up a ten point lead, 19-9 early in the second period. Christian Wilson buried a trey and after a Springfield turnover DaLonte Capers scored inside the paint. Vinson Walker followed with a slam-dunk to cut the Wildcats’ lead to three points. Maurice Beavers sank a pair of free throws and after an errant Wildcats shot Richardson scored to put Northmont on top 20-19.
“I am absolutely proud of this team and this program,” Abels said. “The last couple of times we played here we got taken behind the woodshed. To watch the way our guys competed tonight, I’m just proud of them.”
With the victory Springfield improves to 4-1 overall while Northmont falls to 5-1. The Thunderbolts will travel to Jefferson City, MO to participate in the Machen’s Great 8 Classic Dec. 28-30 before returning home to host Butler on Tuesday, January 3 and Wayne on Friday, January 6.
NMT 09 20 38 52 – 52
SPR 14 21 35 55 – 55
Northmont: Jabari Perkins 10, Rodney Richardson 16, Christian Wilson 10, Maurice Beavers 6, Vinson Walker 4, Arius Spears 2, DaLonte Capers 4. Totals: 19-9-52.
Springfield: Michael McKay 10, Lazarus Toliver 3, JaJuan Rodgers 3, Michael Wallace 13, Danny Davis 8, Dominique Parks 2, Leonard Taylor 16. Totals: 22-6-55.
Three-point baskets: Northmont 5 (Perkins 2, Richardson 2, Wilson); Springfield 5 (Davis 2, Toliver, Rodgers, Taylor).
Records: Springfield 4-1, Northmont 5-1.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind