Northpoint Christian School athletic director Barry Gray has been a busy man the past week during the Christmas break.
As well as leading the overall athletics program, Gray, who came to Northpoint from Brookhaven Academy to coach the girls’ basketball team in 2011, this season added the boys’ basketball program to his responsibilities with former coach David Corbett’s move to an athletic director’s position at a Christian school in Delaware.
This week has become quite a challenge for Gray, coaching two teams at two different locations, both playing the same day the past week.
Such was the case again Friday, as the Northpoint boys took the floor at noon to play Pillow Academy in the final day of the Magnolia Heights Christmas Classic in Senatobia.
After a 58-47 victory for the Trojans, Gray was heading back north toward another visit to Collierville, Tenn., where the Northpoint girls were in the semifinals of the DragonFire Classic tournament Friday night.
That was where the two-time Tennessee state champions in TSSAA Division II-A basketball faced a team that provided the only blemishes on the Lady Trojans’ run to another title trophy in Memphis Central.
Central beat the Lady Trojans twice last year and did so again Friday, knocking Northpoint from the unbeaten ranks with a convincing 54-35 victory.
One night removed from Lauren Gross torching Southaven for 33 points in a 66-56 win in the quarterfinals, it was junior Amara McKay who carried the scoring load for Northpoint, finishing the night with 11 points.
“Their pressure really got to us a little bit and kind of disrupted us,” Gray said about the Lady Warriors, which competes in Class AAA among the larger schools in Tennessee. “They did a good job of doubling up on Lauren (Gross). We had way too many turnovers and I give them (Central) credit for that, they did what they needed to do.”
Central held a 19-15 lead after one quarter but raced to a 34-17 lead in the second quarter of play. The lead became 40-19 at halftime and Northpoint was not able to recover after that, especially when Central slowed the pace of the game down in both the third and fourth quarters of play.
“I’m excited that we handled things much better in the second half than we did in the first half,” Gray said.
Earlier in the day, Chris Gilliland scored 23 points for the Trojans and Dee Young added 13 in Northpoint’s 58-47 win over Pillow Academy at the Magnolia Heights Classic. The Trojans won all three games they took part in during the event and improved their season record to 8-4.
“If you told me the boys would be 8-4 and the girls 10-1 right now, I’d take that,” Gray said. “It’s exciting. We have a lot of good, young athletes. It’s exciting times for us.”
In other action from a busy night of DeSoto County basketball, Zay Jones scored 14 points and was named the game’s MVP for Horn Lake in the Eagles’ 45-42 victory over Munford, Tenn. At the Larry Ransom Classic at Fayette Ware, Tenn.
Jay Bates scored 18 points and added 10 rebounds for DeSoto Central, but the Jaguars were edged by Texarkana, Ark. 66-64 at the Stagecoach Classic in Bartlett, Tenn. Texarkana is a 6A school in Arkansas that reached that state’s quarterfinals last season and returned four senior starters this year.
Elsewhere in boys’ basketball, it was Hernando over Independence 48-42, Southaven stopped Tishomingo County 73-55, Ashland defeated Lake Cormorant 66-45, Lewisburg eased past Falkner 64-52 and Fayette Academy, Tenn. Edged Magnolia Heights 66-63.
Girls’ results Friday had Lewisburg improve to 12-4 with a 63-34 win over Washington School, Collierville, Tenn. beat Southaven 45-30, Kealy Wilson won game MVP honors for scoring 21 points in Horn Lake’s 70-47 demolition of Memphis Mitchell at the Larry Ransom Classic at Fayette Ware, Hernando moved to 15-1 with a 47-37 win over Independence, Savanna Hunt scored 17 for Falkner in their 65-36 victory past Lake Cormorant and it was Bartlett, Tenn. over DeSoto Central 47-34 at the Stagecoach Classic on the Lady Panthers’ home floor.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.