North tops South late: Norsemen use late run to seal victory

By: Thomas Franz | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 18, 2013

 Grosse Pointe North’s Justin Kennedy goes up for a shot as South’s Daniel Dixon defends. Kennedy had 13 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks.

Grosse Pointe North’s Justin Kennedy goes up for a shot as South’s Daniel Dixon defends. Kennedy had 13 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks.

Photo by Roy Feldman

In a back-and-forth game of runs, Grosse Pointe North made the last run to defeat Grosse Pointe South 57-49 in an opening- week contest between the two rivals.

South, playing its first game of the season, jumped out to a 16-8 lead after the first quarter, but North responded to take a one-point lead at halftime.

North’s Jacob Zacharias became the story of the night after halftime. Zacharias hit four 3s in the second half to propel the Norsemen to victory.

“When I get in the zone, I know that I can feel it and I was confident, and that’s all it took,” Zacharias said. “I know I had the range, so I just shot. I was just happy we won, especially for the seniors after we were down.”

The initial turning point in the game came when North turned an eight-point deficit midway through the second quarter into a nine-point lead three minutes after halftime. Justin Kennedy helped spark the run by racking up most of his 13 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks during the run.

Kennedy went head-to-head with South’s Dan Dixon on the low post for most of the night, and the pair provided an entertaining battle on the inside, as Dixon led South in scoring with 11 points.

“We talked about how a big part of winning the game is winning the rebound battle,” North coach Matt Lockhart said. “We knew Dixon was going to be in there, and he started well, but then Justin (Kennedy) started getting him away from the basket a little bit more … I thought (Kennedy) rebounded well and played well.”

South made a run of its own to end the third quarter, as Jabari Burton and Darius Harris each made 3-point shots to cut North’s lead to 41-38.

South’s Dallian Burnett scored all eight of his points during South’s run to eventually tie the game at 46 with a little more than four minutes remaining.

With the game hanging in the balance, North executed against South’s zone defense from the perimeter first and then on the inside. Zacharias hit his last 3 to put North ahead 51-48, and Tim Herd followed that up with a 3-point play when he made a driving layup with 59 seconds to go to seal the game.

“It was a good team effort — much better than our first game. I think we played 11 guys tonight. Even if it was for 30 seconds off the bench, they did their job, even if it was just for a defensive purpose or to give fouls,” Lockhart said.

Herd finished the night with 11 points, and guard Ricky Watson added 10 points and 10 rebounds for North.

Harris and Joshua Gray each finished the night with eight points for South, as Burton finished with 10.

“It was a game of runs. I thought they beat us to the loose balls way too many times, and we had a hard time executing some of our sets,” South coach Troy Glasser said.

South (0-1) will play its next game on Dec. 20 at Chippewa Valley. The Norsemen will host Warren Cousino on Dec. 20.