The Northeastern boys basketball team weathered a furious First Flight run in the second half to hold off the Nighthawks 55-52 in a Northeastern Coastal Conference tournament semifinal on Thursday night.
Trailing by three with seconds remaining, First Flight’s Blaiz Rodman missed a potential game tying 3-pointer as time expired.
With the win, NHS (22-2) advanced to the NCC final today against No. 2 seed Hertford County.
Leading 36-19 in the third quarter, it appeared the Eagles were set to cruise to another conference win, but the Nighthawks got rolling.
First Flight went on an 16-2 run to end the third quarter trailing 38-35.
Northeastern led 32-15 at halftime.
Most of the shots that the Nighthawks made were not the custom 3-point barrage, but by getting inside the paint.
Jack Konstanzer, Devan Rodman and Devyn Dodson carried the scoring load for First Flight (17-8) in the final two quarters.
Devan Rodman, who scored 12 points in the contest, cut the Northeastern lead to 42-40 after a drive and layup in the paint.
Konstanzer finished with 18 points, while Dodson added 11 for the No. 4 seed Nighthawks.
It was a subpar performance on the defensive end for Northeastern coach Ronald Nixon.
“We didn’t do a good job of closing out,” Nixon said.
The coach added that not rebounding and miscommunication on defense led to second-chance opportunities for First Flight.
The NHS offense struggled in the final two periods.
“The difference was that we were not knocking down shots,” Nixon said.
Northeastern — the No. 1 seed in the tournament — scored six points in the third quarter.
With the lead slowing slipping away, Trey Carver, Damar Sutton and Trevon Lamb scored key baskets down the stretch to help guide NHS to the win.
“They did a great job of attacking the basket,” Nixon said. “We are an inside-out team.”
Sutton led NHS with 14 points, while Carver followed with 13 and Lamb added 10.
In the third, Northeastern’s Shawn Walker Jr. fell hard to the floor after a basket and landed on his shoulder.
After a few minutes on the floor, the freshman walked back to the NHS locker room.
Nixon said that Walker sustained a shoulder bruise and added the point guard is questionable vs. Hertford County.
— Malcolm Shields