June 14, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Northwood bounces back from semifinal loss with win to earn CIF automatic playoff berth

Northwood Coach Christian Manalo congratulates his players after a strong first half. (Photo: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Northwood High School’s boys basketball team bounced back from a rough second half Thursday night in a loss to Woodbridge and defeated Beckman 66-55 Friday night in the Pacific Coast League tournament at Portola.

The Timberwolves squandered a halftime lead against Woodbridge, but came out firing in the first half against Beckman to lock up third place in the league and one of four automatic CIF playoff berths.

“I’m just proud of our guys how they battled back,” said Northwood Coach Christian Manalo. “It was a really tough game yesterday, a lot of emotions and they really wanted to fight for a league championship.

“I’m just proud of how they responded today, we jumped on them early which kind of gave us a little cushion when they made their run, I’m proud of their resilience and pushing forward and putting our mind toward CIF (playoffs). We want to get a little bit of momentum on that.”

Zaid Yunis led Northwood (21-7, 8-2) with 25 points and five 3-pointers. Justin Liu had 16 points and seven rebounds, Ryan Abaye nine points, nine assists and five steals, Sidd Raj seven points and Sam Alegre six points.

Beckman, which finished fifth in the league, was led by Tai Nguyen, who scored 20 points.

Northwood led 34-16 at halftime but Beckman battled back with a 10-2 run to start the third quarter to get back into the game.

But Northwood was able to maintain a safe lead to close out the win.

Northwood was seeded No. 2 in this week’s CIF 3A poll.

“We’ve been highly ranked all year, so hopefully we get a good draw,” Manalo said. “We didn’t reach our goal of a league championship, but we still have bigger goals that we want to reach.”

Manalo said its the best record and most wins for the program since 2018.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com