Johns Creek, Northview renew rivalry

Northview girls win 24th straight region game, Johns Creek boys win first of season

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Johns Creek and Northview continued their crosstown rivalry on the hardwoods Saturday at Northview in the boys and girls teams’ fifth region game.

The Northview girls continued their dominant streak in region play, winning their 24th straight Region 7-AAAAAA game. The Titans have not lost a region game since the realignment ahead of the 2015-16 season.

The boys game featured a battle of two teams seeking their first region win, with Johns Creek escaping a late Northview comeback.

 

(Girls) Northview 59, Johns Creek 28

Northview head coach Chris Yarbrough said one area his team needs to improve upon is starting fast. So Saturday’s tilt against Northview was certainly a shot in the arm.

The Titans (7-2, 5-0) scored the first 29 points of the game on their way to a 59-28 rout of the Gladiators (4-5, 2-3).

“We had great defensive pressure, we scored in transition and we executed on the offensive end,” Yarbrough said. “I thought we played really well overall.”

Johns Creek couldn’t contend with the Titans tight defensive coverage, with Northview compiling six steals in the first half and forcing multiple errant passes. It was the Titans third straight game allowing 30 points or less.

“If we can defend like [Saturday night], we’re going to win a lot of games,” Yarbrough said.

Asjah Innis accounted for four steals, scoring a majority of her nine points in transition.

Ashlee Austin led all scorers with 17 points. She added seven rebounds and a block. Eden Sample scored 15.

The Titans also got plenty of production from the bench, with 10 players showing up on the stat sheet.

Yarbrough said his offense is beginning to gel and make the extra pass for a better look. That could spell trouble for their opponents as the Titans have averaged 58 points per game in their opening nine games.

Northview now turns its attention to a challenging non-region schedule over the Christmas break. The Titans will face South Forsyth on Dec. 21 before matching up against Hillgrove in the Deep South Classic at Brookwood.

“We have four non-region games that are going to be a good test for us,” Yarbrough said. “Then comes perhaps the biggest region game against Alpharetta.”

Johns Creek fell to 2-3 in region play with the loss. They were led by Markeima Lancaster’s 13 points, four rebounds and two steals.

The Gladiators take on region opponent Dunwoody on Monday ahead of four non-region games.

 

(Boys) Johns Creek 71, Northview 66

It’s been a rough start to the season for Johns Creek and Northview in region play.

The Gladiators (3-6, 1-4) tipped off their region schedule with some of the top teams in the region, including Alpharetta and Pope, and fell in their opening four contests. Northview (1-8, 0-5) faced the same fate with Pope, Cambridge, Centennial and North Atlanta.  

So both teams were desperate for a boost of confidence, and their first 7-AAAAAA win, Saturday night. Ultimately, it was Johns Creek who prevailed in an exciting finish.

After a tight first quarter, Johns Creek opened a double-digit lead before halftime and looked well in control during the third. However, Northview went on a 9-2 run to end the quarter to pull within striking distance.

Midway through the final period, Northview tied the game, leading to a back-and-forth final few minutes.

Northview junior guard Joseph Jones scored two quick layups after Johns Creek free throws to keep the Gladiators lead to 68-66 with just 14 seconds left.

The Gladiators’ Neil Ilenrey then made two free throws and then forced a turnover in transition to ultimately down the Titans, 71-66.

“The guys played incredibly hard,” Johns Creek head coach Keenan Temple said. “They showed at the end they could handle the pressure, make some free throws and get the win.”

Their win came just 24 hours after the had squandered a 10-point lead against Pope. Temple said he was pleased to see his team show resilience after nearly losing another game following a large lead.

Johns Creek has lived and died by the three this season, and on Saturday it proved the difference.

The Gladiators sunk 10 threes, with Will Penland and Jack Greenslit making three each. Penland’s 18 points led Johns Creek, followed by Ilenrey and Greenslit with 16 each.

The three-ball was also effective for the Titans, with sophomore Matt Davis hitting six from beyond the arc. He would lead all scorers with 22 points.

But throughout much of the game, the Titans struggled to reach the three-point line due to Johns Creeks’ full court pressure which resulted in multiple Northview turnovers.

“We got a little bit away from [the press] this year, but we realized this is what this team needs to do,” Temple said. “We implemented a new press this week and has done well the last two games.”

Though Northview head coach Steven Bombard was disappointed in another region loss, he said he was pleased with his team fighting back into contention in the second half.

“You can grow from that,” Bombard said. “We’ve had a couple of rough games, so hopefully we can use this one to build a little bit.”

The Titans are continuing to show improvement and that is coming through Northview’s focus on fundamentals, Bombard said.

“We’re going to keep practicing on those little things and hopefully they will translate to victories,” he said.

 


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