The boiling point of Thursday night’s contest between North Point and Thomas Stone surfaced with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, with the Eagles leading their bitter rival by 26 points. After a loose ball pileup near the baseline stopped play, a Thomas Stone player got up and shoved North Point guard Marquis Wright — and officials scrambled to regain order. Wright just walked away smiling.
He had good reason, too. Wright facilitated a romp in this long-time Southern Maryland Athletic Conference rivalry, scoring 19 points to complement Naim Muhammad’s 31 in a 92-69 nonleague win in Waldorf.
“It got a little rowdy, but we kept our grounding and held the win,” Wright said. “It’s a check on the list.”
North Point (4-1) was hungry to atone for a three-point loss to DeMatha five days ago, and Coach Jimmy Ball shook up his starting lineup before the opening tip — holding Muhammad out of the starting five in hopes of providing a spark for the swingman. And it worked.
The Eagles took a 25-15 first quarter lead thanks to the inside-out play of Wright and 6-4 forward Matt Bonds (26 points), and Muhammad came off the bench late in the frame and slammed home a thunderous dunk in transition that seemed to set the tone for the rest of the night. The 6-4 senior continued to pound away on the Thomas Stone (4-2) interior in the second quarter — scoring eight points and propelling a 20-6 run that put the Eagles in control.
“Coming off the bench, and me being a consistent starter, it humbled me at first. But I just stayed positive about it,” said Muhammad. “When I got in the game, I tried to help out my teammates as much as possible.”
Wright said much was made about the point guard matchup between him and Thomas Stone’s Michael Briscoe heading into Thursday night — but every time Briscoe (24 points) made a shot in the second half, North Point’s big men had an answer.
Briscoe was shaded by guards with more range than the 6-1 Wright. “I’m usually not even checking him. I’ve got to save my energy on the offensive end,” Wright said. “But my team did [check him].”
Muhammad scored 17 points after halftime, many on fast-breaks started by Wright, and Bonds added nine in the final two quarters.
“It was a statement game,” Muhammad said. “It showed we’re still one of the top teams in the area.”