Boys basketball: Stivers overcomes 18-point deficit to beat Northridge

Stivers junior Doug Spear shoots a jumper during their game against Northridge on Saturday night in Dayton. The Tigers won 87-79. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Combined ShapeCaption
Stivers junior Doug Spear shoots a jumper during their game against Northridge on Saturday night in Dayton. The Tigers won 87-79. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

With his team trailing Northridge High School by 18 points with three minutes left in the first half, Stivers School for the Arts coach Felix Turner called a timeout.

He gave his team a new goal: Cut the lead to 10 at the half. The Tigers far exceeded his expectations.

With four seconds remaining, an old-fashioned three-point play by the Tigers’ Allen Lattimore cut the Polar Bears lead to four at 41-37, capping a 14-0 run by Stivers.

“We were just trying to take it one bite at a time,” Turner said.

In the second half, the Tigers pounced on the Polar Bears, quickly taking a double-digit lead en route to a 87-79 nonconference victory.

Five players scored in double figures — Lattimore had a team-high 19 points, while Trevon Ellis had 18, Doug Spear scored 16, De’Juan Allen had 15 and Jordan Williams added 10 — as Stivers finished the regular season 16-4.

Northridge senior Twon Hines had 30 points on Senior Night for the Polar Bears, who saw their nine-game winning streak snapped. Senior Charles Drewery had 23 points and senior Robbie Turner added 12 for Northridge (14-7).

“Once we got the lead, we had some very poor possessions,” said Northridge coach Jeff Lisath. “We took some bad shots and gave them the opportunity to get back into it.”

»RELATED: Saturday’s high school roundup

»RELATED: Saturday’s high school scoreboard

Spear hit two of his four 3-pointers to open the second half, quickly giving the Tigers the lead at 53-50. Stivers extended its lead to 15 on a 3-pointer by Williams with four minutes remaining.

“They played hard, they played well together,” Turner said. “They fought through adversity, which is something that a year ago, we were still working at. When things got tough, last year we probably would’ve fallen apart. A year later, we’re able to fight through adversity and I thought that was the biggest difference for our team.”

The Tigers, the Dayton City League champs, took a break after last week’s game and only practiced a few times before its game with Northridge to rest up before the upcoming D-III tournament. The Tigers, who advanced to the districts last season, earned the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Vandalia Butler sectional.

“We knew it was going to be a challenge,” Turner said. “It was our personal challenge to see how we would play under these conditions and the guys stood up well.”

Hines scored 16 points in the fourth quarter. The Polar Bears pulled to within seven points in the final minute, but couldn’t get any closer. Northridge struggled from the free throw line, shooting 3-for-11 in the fourth quarter.

“It’s been an Achilles Heel,” Lisath said. “We thought we fixed it mid-season, but we’ve been struggling the last couple games. We’ll get back in practice and fix that.”

Northridge earned the fourth seed in the D-II sectional at Springfield High School. They’ll face No. 7 Graham at 6 p.m. Friday.

It was also the final game in the old Northridge gymnasium. The Polar Bears will move to a new gym when its $45 million school opens sometime next fall.

“It’s bittersweet,” Lisath said. “Naturally, you want to win your last game in the gym, so maybe we’ll have an alumni game or something. We’re very excited to get into the new building. I have some short history here, but some successful years here. It’s bittersweet. We would’ve liked to have gone out with a win on Senior Night, but it just didn’t work out. Hopefully, we can make a run in the tournament.”

About the Author