The Port Huron Northern boys basketball team is known for its powerful offense.
On any given night, five different players could score in double digits, propelling the team to 71 points per game.
Their offensive firepower, however, wasn’t going to save their perfect season against New Haven last night.
“New Haven plays so hard and tough, we knew it was going to be a hard game for us,” head coach Brian Jamison said. “We kind of struggled early to keep them in front of us, but I thought we did a much better job defensively in the second quarter on.
“Early on we lost some of the shooters…We were slow on our switches and didn’t close out on them.”
New Haven entered the Northern gym at 9-1 (2-1 MAC-White), looking to hand the then 8-0 Huskies their first loss. In quick, aggressive fashion, the Rockets captured their largest lead of the game at 20-13 with a minute remaining in the first.
Midway through the second quarter, after some defensive adjustments, the Huskies went on an 8-0 run to keep themselves in the game. By halftime, they would lead 43-32 and never look back.
“I really liked how we overcame. It wasn't really our standard in the first quarter as far as [defense] goes,” senior Tyler Jamison said. “We buckled down and switched some things on defense and I was just really proud of how we came back from that.”
Northern would win 74-55, improving to 9-0 overall and taking sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the MAC-White at 4-0. Brian Jamison credited his team’s versatility and depth for the continued success.
“We’ve had a lot of different guys step up in different games. We’ve always had a second and third scorer each night,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys and we can kind of be different teams.
“We definitely have some flexibility and you just never know. With a couple guys in foul trouble or injury or whatever, some different guys have had to step up and I thought we had good minutes from a lot of guys tonight.”
Guys like Amir Morelan, a freshman commanding the offense who posted 17 points and five assists, or fellow freshman Alex Jamison, who chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds, or senior Luke Maher whose steady 3-point shooting led to 10 points on the night.
“I just want to win and get our team ranked. Just play hard, it doesn’t matter if I score, I still play defense and help get the win for our team,” Morelan said. “I’m getting more comfortable and comfortable as the games go by."
But perhaps the highlight of the night comes from Tyler Jamison, who matched his game-leading 28 points with an impressive 28 rebounds, eclipsing the half-century-old school record of 25 rebounds in one game, originally set by Greg Osborn in 1970.
A new record wasn’t on his mind as he stepped on the court last night, however. He was more concerned with correcting a lack of rebounds in previous games and preventing another week of rebounding-focused practice.
“To preface this, we got killed on the boards the last two games. We were talking about how it’s really hard to run when you don’t get rebounds, so in practice we’ve just been drilling rebounding, rebounding, and rebounding," he said. "Tonight I think we outrebounded them.”
Clearly the practice paid off.
Northern will play Grosse Pointe North (7-3, 3-1 MAC-White) on the road Friday at 7 p.m.
For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli
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