Northwood starts season with a victory


BUENA PARK – At times there was the sloppiness of an early-season game, but Northwood did enough to start the season with a convincing victory Tuesday night.

The Timberwolves pulled away from La Habra during the second half for a 58-45 victory in what was both teams’ opening game of the Coyote Classic tournament at Buena Park High.

Northwood’s Zach Pierce was a force both in the paint and outside of the arc, leading all scorers with 21 points.  The 6-foot-4 big man knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and went 5 of 7 from the free-throw line.

“He’s hard to guard,” Northwood coach Tim O’Brien said of Pierce. “He’s got an inside game … he hits threes and he’s aggressive.”

Cole Murray scored 12 points for Northwood.

Zach Gray and Tanner Thompson led the La Habra offense with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Gray did most of his damage behind the arc, shooting 3 of 6 on 3-pointers.

The Timberwolves (1-0) pulled away in the third quarter with a defensive effort that held the Highlanders (0-2) to just four points over the eight-minute period.

A 24-4 run that stretched from the second quarter into the fourth put the game out of reach and allowed O’Brien to remove his starters with 5:08 left to play and a 56-26 lead.

From that point on, La Habra used pressure defense and Northwood turnovers to close the game on a 19-2 run, but it did not have time to draw closer.

“We’ve got to limit turnovers, we had way too many,” said O’Brien, who began his second stint at the helm of the Timberwolves. “First game, new coach, new system, new kids, all that adds up to turnovers; we’ll get better.”

Pool play in the eight-team Coyote Classic continues Wednesday. The championship game will be played Saturday night.

In other Coyote Classic games:

Buena Park 80, Santa Fe 69: CJ De La Fuentes had 30 points as the Coyotes kicked off the tournament with a victory in Pool A at Buena Park.

Newport Harbor 51, Kennedy 44: Robbie Rettig, Nic Sargent and Kevin Rakestraw each had 12 points as the Sailors started pool play with a victory. Kennedy’s Terrance Blum had a game-high 20 points.

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