FLINT, Michigan — Flint Powers’ first-year head coach will never forget how he won his first game with the Chargers. Jeremy Trent’s team scored only 19 points in the first half, trailed by four at the break and won the game 50-42 — and it was all effort. This is not your fun-and-gun, Lucas-Perry-Moreland-O’Brien Flint Powers anymore. This is gritty, get-up-in-your-grill-and-stay-there-all-game basketball.
Northwestern, just one year removed from the regional finals, has more talent (by far) than Powers. That fact mattered little on Friday night, as the loose balls, rebounds and basically every effort play favored Powers. If the two teams were combined and then separated based on talent, only one of the first five picked would be wearing a Powers jersey — 6-1 senior point guard Nick Sullivan.
Tonight sort of reminded me of Trent’s days at Burton Bentley, where on several occasions he convinced a bunch of undersized and underwhelming role players that they could beat Flint Hamady, the GAC Blue’s dominant basketball program for as long as I can remember.
Sullivan led the Chargers with 14 points. Erick Thompson and sophomore Kennen Moore added 10 apiece.
For Northwestern, the second half was a comedy errors — missed shots in the paint, turnovers and confused shots from the perimeter. The Wildcats top returning player, 6-7 senior Andre Yancy, could not assert his will in the paint and was easily lulled to sleep on the defensive end.
Senior guard Raheen Dudley had a lot of energy early on, but shot the name off the ball for the majority of the game and contributed to the team’s abysmal shooting performance. Kendrick Wallace, a 6-5 senior forward, shows some promise as a low post scorer and rebounder, but it was tough sledding against Powers’ brawny frontline. Trent has a Danny O’Brien clone in 6-5 senior Vinnie Palazeti who checks in at over 300 pounds and hasn’t played organized ball since seventh grade.
Powers (1-0) will hit the road for Bridgeport on Tuesday night. The Bearcats (1-1) will be fresh off a loss to Shepherd. Northwestern (0-1) will play at Southwestern (2-0).