COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Northland came into Friday’s matchup against Centennial needing a victory to secure a spot in the City League Championship. This is a familiar scene for senior guard N’Keeley Elmore, who’s played in two already. Elmore would not be denied one last dance, scoring a game-high 27 points and leading Northland to a 58-56 victory
Northland started the game off with insane defensive effort that would carry over for most of the game. They finished the night with 15 steals and 11 blocks. Their defensive effort carried them to a 16-11 lead after one.
N’Keeley Elmore put on a show in the second quarter, scoring or assisting on every point in the Vikings 10-0 run. Northland led 28-11 and seemed to be headed for a blow out, however, Centennial had other plans, as they finished the quarter strong behind six points from sophomore forward Jaylen Gilbert. Centennial finished the half on a 14-4 run and trailed Northland 32-25 at the half.
The third quarter was a dog fight with back and forth action. The Stars junior forward Kelvin Gilliam was an absolute terror on the glass, creating many second chance opportunities. He finished with a game-high 17 rebounds and added nine points as well. Travonne Jackson took advantage of the extra possessions, pouring in eight points in the third quarter.
Centennial outscored Northland 19-13 in the third quarter with the scoreboard showing 45-44 Northland after three.
Both teams battled hard for the the final eight minutes. Northland was able to hold on behind the heroics of their senior leader Elmore for the second night in a row. They have now secured a spot in City League Championship where they will take on South on February 16th.
N’Keeley Elmore (5’9 G/ Northland / 2019): Elmore was a hound on the defensive end all night. He managed to finish the game with seven steals. His defensive effort fueled him to 27 points on the other end and he was able to get his teammates involved with four assists.
Makhale Massey (6’3 WG / Northland / 2021): The sophomore helped shoulder the scoring load with 12 points and was very active defensively with three blocks and three steals.
Travonne Jackson (6’4 CG / Centennial / 2021): The intriguing 6-foot-4 guard dominated a stretch in the third quarter by scoring at will. He showed flashes of his scoring ability by constantly beating his man and scoring at the rim. Jackson led the Stars with 15 points.
Jaylen Gilbert (6’3 F / Centennial / 2021): The powerful sophomore did damage inside. He bruised his way to a double-double totaling 12 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks.