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02/19/2016 - BOYS BASKETBALL: Northeast's Quickness Causes Problems For Norfolk

By Jeff Motz

The set up for one of the biggest boys basketball games in Nebraska this weekend didn't live up to much of the hype.

It became one-sided in a hurry, as Lincoln Northeast got a game-high 22 points from freshman guard Malcolm Whitlow and used an uptempo attack to earn a 71-56 victory over Norfolk Friday night at the Ed Johnson Gym.

Whitlow managed to attack the basket and draw fouls, making up for it at the free throw line, where he was 16-of-18 on the night.  His 12 first half points helped the Rockets to a 27-19 halftime lead.

Norfolk led 10-9 late in the first quarter off a three-point play from 6-8 junior center Logan Strom.  Northeast took control for good off a Talon Little three-pointer about 30 seconds later.  Little finished the night with a career-best 17 points and was a perfect 5-of-5 from three-point range.

Northeast (14-8) kicked it into overdrive in the third quarter jumping out to a 39-22 lead when Trace Tupper scored from close range, then Tyson Shadegg scored in transition and hit a teardrop basket two possessions later, as part of his 17-point performance.  Little buried back to back three-pointers and as part of a 12-3 run with 4:22 left in the third quarter.

Norfolk (15-7) then threw on a full-court press in the fourth quarter and cut the deficit down to 46-37 after Brandon Villapando stole and inbounds pass and fed Travis Larson for a layup with 6:22 to play.

The Rockets hit free throws and transition baskets to pull away and earn their second win over the Panthers in the past year.  Northeast handed Norfolk their only loss last season, a 61-43 decision in the quarterfinal of the Class A State Tournament.

Strom led Norfolk with 16 points, while Larson, Villapando and Lane McCallum each chipped in 10 points in the loss.
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