Friday, December 01, 2006

Northview is tall order for Berkmar

LILBURN, GA – Luckily for Northview High School, games are won by whoever has the most points and not by whoever plays the prettiest. The Titans picked up a 53-37 win against Berkmar High School on Friday night.

Northview (4-0) leaned on the presence of 6-10 big man Ralph Sampson, III inside the paint and played a solid defensive-minded game. The junior lead the way with 18 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots in the victory.

Sampson, who is coming off a MVP performance at the Forsyth Turkey Shootout, was an intimidating force around the basket and helped keep Berkmar from getting into the paint. Northview held the Patriots to 13 points in the middle quarters. Sampson’s presence had a lot to do with that. He blocked a number of shots on consecutive attempts and sent a message on the defensive end.

“At first, they weren’t too intimidated but as the game went along they became a bit shaky on bringing it inside. I feel like we just wore them down,” Sampson said.

Sampson wasn’t alone on the glass. Junior guard Daniel Stryzinski was outstanding on the boards, grabbing a dozen rebounds. The son of former Atlanta Falcon punter of the same name was a spark of energy for the team and helped set the tone on the defensive end.

The 6-3 junior added seven points, three assists and a pair of blocks. He didn’t take a shot in the first half but had a giant contribution in the flow of Northview’s success.

Junior A.J. Hawkins added eight rebonds and 11 points in the victory. The 6-6 post is a nice compliment to Sampson’s size and Stryzinski’s versatility. The trio combine for a strong force down low in region 6-AAAAA.

“Our combination is pretty good,” Sampson said of his frontline mates. “We do get a lot of rebounds and we work hard at cleaning the glass. We know we have to play together and rebound really hard if we want to win.”

That combination was the difference maker.

Berkmar (2-3) was led by junior wing Wesley Witherspoon, who scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and swiped seven steals.