—Submitted by Bob Lasley
Duke-North Carolina, Michigan-Michigan State, Northville-Novi. Intense rivalries all. Friday night’s first installment of the Northville-Novi boys basketball rivalry had all the ingredients expected–a raucous crowd in the small Novi gym led by large student contingents from both schools. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, despite an inspired performance, they ended up on the short side of a 58-49 score.
Northville appeared to be energized by the atmosphere as they grabbed 4 offensive rebounds and were charged with 4 fouls in the first 90 seconds of the game. The Wildcats, however, jumped out to a quick 6-point lead before the Mustangs settled down and briefly led 9-8. The first quarter ended with Novi in charge at 12-9.
The second quarter continued to be a high energy affair as both teams were battling for rebounds and loose balls on seemingly every possession. Northville’s defense actually shut down Novi’s attack, as the Wildcats did not make a single shot from the field during the period (they were 6-6 from the free throw line). Had the Mustangs executed better offensively, they could have had more than their 19-18 halftime lead, which was achieved with a buzzer beating layup by Stewart Henzi.
The action picked up in the second half with Northville maintaining a 27-26 lead late into the third quarter before Novi went on a 9-2 run to take a 35-29 lead. The Mustangs shot almost 50 percent from the field (6-13) and grabbed another 4 offensive rebounds, but the Wildcats countered with three 3-pointers.
Northville seized the momentum at the start of the fourth quarter and cut the margin to just 1 point after only 25 seconds ran off the clock. Novi retaliated, however, with a 5-0 run to re-establish a 6 pint lead, 40-34, with just over 5 minutes remaining in the game.
The next few minutes saw the lead fluctuate between 3 and 7 points, and every time Northville cut into the lead, Novi was able to score to maintain their margin. Northville trailed by only 4 with 1:36 left on the clock, but Novi outscored them 7-2 for the final margin.
The Mustangs’ continue their conference slate Tuesday, Jan. 15 at South Lyon.
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