April 18, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Northwood’s Zaid Yunis achieves personal milestone in key PCL victory over Woodbridge

Northwood senior Zaid Yunis after Wednesday’s PCL victory. (Photos: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Northwood High School’s boys basketball team held off a fourth quarter charge by Woodbridge to capture a 61-52 victory over the Warriors in an early season Pacific Coast League showdown Wednesday night at Northwood.

The hard-fought, cleanly played game featured two teams hoping to compete for a league title. And it was the only scheduled match-up between the teams. Like last year, there will be only one round of regular season play before a season-ending tournament to determine the final standings.

“We knew it was going to be a dogfight coming in, Woodbridge is a really good team and they’re well coached and we knew we had to play really well and we shot the ball well,” said Northwood Coach Christian Manalo. “We talked about we just had to make plays, sometimes that’s what it comes down to and we made enough plays tonight to come out with the victory.”

Northwood senior Zaid Yunis led his team with 22 points, six 3-pointers and eight rebounds, and moved over 1,000 points in his career, Manalo said.

“I don’t know how much more you can ask out of him and the cool part about it is, he just hit 1,000 (points) today, he’s just been solid for us,” Manalo said. “He makes big plays for us time and time again and he made plays today for us to win.”

To see additional photos, click on the first picture:

Ryan Abaye added 12 points, eight assists and three steals and Sam Alegre 10 points for Northwood (15-5, 2-0). Justin Liu grabbed 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves.

Northwood led 32-25 at halftime held a 42-37 lead after three quarters but Woodbridge (12-7, 1-1) cut the lead to 44-40 on a 3-pointer by JC Schindler early in the fourth quarter. The Warriors stayed within striking distance for most of the quarter but a 3-pointer by Yunis with 2:45 remaining gave Northwood a 54-45 lead. The Timberwolves were able to make free throws down the stretch to win it.

“In the last two years, I’ve never beaten this team, so this one felt especially good,” said Yunis. “I think coming into league, everyone was saying us and them are the top two teams and we only play them once, so this was the game we had to take and we did, at home, with a big crowd.”

Yunis became the 10th Northwood player to reach 1,000 points, Manalo said.

“That’s crazy, my freshman year I wasn’t even on varsity, a senior Amir Flint, had 1,000 points and I don’t feel like I could ever do that but we’re here today and it’s kind of surreal,” Yunis said.

Woodbridge made Yunis and the Timberwolves work for every point and Jaiden Sabino kept his team close with 23 points. JC Schindler, who has been under the weather with the flu this week, was held to 12 points.

Jason Briggs added nine points for Woodbridge.

“That’s what you expect, you got to give them credit,” said Woodbridge Coach Steve Scoggin. “They played really well, they hit shots when they needed to, number 12 (Yunis) was tough. He made a lot of big shots, wide open, and that’s what teams like that do. They make shots and they’ve been doing it all year.

“He had a really big game against Laguna Hills, he played well tonight, Stephen (Lamp) and JC had a rough time, they got to get healthy and we will get going,” Scoggin said.

Lamp was a “little banged up,” Scoggin said.

Scoggin said he’s looking forward to the rest of the first round and then the tournament.

“We play everyone once, we have some really good teams here and then we get to the tournament where anything can happen,” he said. “Everyone will be in the tournament, one through eight.”

The location and dates have not been announced, Scoggin said.

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