2017-02-02 / Sports

Norse outlast Northport in defensive slugfest

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff


JUSTIN MCSAWBY of Suttons Bay (11) fends off Austin Huck of Northport (14) during Suttons Bay’s 40-34 road win on Friday. Both players have rapidly climbed the county’s list of top-15 scorers in recent weeks. Photo: Ron Kramer JUSTIN MCSAWBY of Suttons Bay (11) fends off Austin Huck of Northport (14) during Suttons Bay’s 40-34 road win on Friday. Both players have rapidly climbed the county’s list of top-15 scorers in recent weeks. Photo: Ron Kramer The Suttons Bay boys came into last week’s showdown at Northport as the No. 1 scoring team in the county, averaging more than 62 points per game against their first 10 opponents.

None of those opponents were coached by Dave Ginsberg, however.

Northport defenders gave the Norsemen all they could handle on Friday, limiting Suttons Bay to its lowest scoring total in 22 games, but the Norse answered with some defense of their own, rallied in the second half and escaped with a 40-34 victory.

“They played tough,” Suttons Bay coach Ron Anderson said of the Wildcats. “We expected that to happen. When we go up there it’s kind of like a county rivalry even though we don’t play them often. Coach Ginsberg had them ready to play. We had to go in at halftime and regroup, come back out and play better basketball.”

NORTHPORT JUNIOR Navneet Dhami shoots a 3 during Northport’s home win over Harbor Light Christian on Monday. Photo: Dan DuffineyNORTHPORT JUNIOR Navneet Dhami shoots a 3 during Northport’s home win over Harbor Light Christian on Monday. Photo: Dan Duffiney
The Norse (7-4, 4-3 Northwest), who were coming off a 68-41 win at Mesick last Wednesday, struggled to score from the tip. The team trailed 21-16 at the half and finished with just 11 field goals on 11-of-36 shooting from the field (30.6 percent), including 1-of-9 from 3-point land (11.1 percent).

Defense and free throws made the difference down the stretch, Anderson said, as Suttons Bay outscored Northport 15-6 in the fourth quarter.

“The biggest difference was we were more aggressive on defense, threw a press on them, got some turnovers and got back on top,” said Anderson, who was without Christian Holmes and Brett Rice in the low post. “We made them come after us.”

Thomas Hursey was the lone Suttons Bay player in double figures, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Navneet Dhami led all Northport scorers with 14 points.

“For 28 or 29 of the 32 minutes, we really played well against a team that has a lot more ability than we do,” Ginsberg said. “We did a good job, we just let them off the hook in the last couple minutes. That came from us turning the ball over against their trap.

“They did what they had to do to win, but I was very pleased with our effort. I thought the guys saw that, even when we’re an underdog, we can find ways to compete.”

Northport also found ways to compete against visiting Harbor Light Christian on Monday, particularly on the offensive side of the floor.

Austin Huck scored a career-high 20 points, Dhami added a career-high 19 points and the team eclipsed the 50-point plateau for the first time this season, winning 55-36.

Huck, who knocked down a trio of triples in the third quarter, added six assists for the Wildcats (8-3, 2-0 Cherryland).

“He played well and he’s been practicing real well,” Ginsberg said. “I knew he was getting ready to rack up a few numbers. He’s become a good defender, and Dhami’s been doing well, too. We have some guys who can score.”

Northport returns to action tonight against the Traverse City Bulldog Athletic Association. The Wildcats will then look to complete a season sweep of St. Mary (2-9, 0-3 Cherryland) at home on Tuesday.

Suttons Bay, which was slated to play at No. 2 Buckley after press time last night, will continue its toughest stretch of the season against visiting Benzie Central on Friday. The Norse will then host Glen Lake (8-2, 5-1 Northwest) on Wednesday before traveling to Frankfort on Feb. 10.

Return to top