Friendly Coach Roy Henderson can only wonder what his team would have accomplished had star guard Robert Green played. But without him, the results were quite painful as Northwestern, in its home opener, ran around, through and over Friendly and easily defeated the Patriots, 77-51, in a Prince George's AA League game.
Northwestern (2-2 overall, 2-0 in league play) made quick work of the Patriots and led, 18-8, after one quarter and 39-20 at halftime.
Friendly (3-1, 2-1) played without Green, who attended a football banquet last night. Without its leader, the Patriots were unable to develop any rhythm, and after quickly falling behind were unable to find the player to slow the slide.
"Without Green, we really lack confidence," said Greg Roscoe, who finished with 13 points. Darrell Valentine led the Patriots with 14 points. "We just couldn't seem to get anyone to get the spark going."
The defending state champion Wildcats, meanwhile, had a number of heroes. Jay Bias and Derrick Curry each contributed 28 points. Bias also led the team with 12 rebounds. And unlike a week ago when the Wildcats were unable to deal with man-to-man pressure from DeMatha, guard Terry Lancaster easily dribbled through the pressure and was able to find Curry or Bias open for easy baskets.
"Against DeMatha," said Curry, "we had too many men in the back court trying to move the ball up the court. Tonight, everyone moved up and left Terry alone and he didn't have any trouble moving the ball."
Unable to mount an attack, Friendly tried in vain to stop Bias by having Dickey Simpkins cover him. When that failed the Patriots used Roberts Sands. When that failed, Friendly tried double-teaming Bias, which resulted in Curry slipping free for one of his dunks.
"Right from the start, our team had so much intensity out there," said Bias. "But that's what we need. We have a really young team that isn't used to playing with each other. It's going to take us a while to really come together. But tonight we played pretty well."
This was a game that ended early in the first quarter. Trailing, 4-2, with 5:35 left, Northwestern held the Patriots scoreless for the next four minutes and scored six straight baskets to lead, 14-4. Northwestern shot 58.1 percent (17 of 29) to Friendly's 34.8 percent (eight of 23) in the first half.
"We didn't challenge them at all," said Henderson. "This was the worst effort we've given since the first day of practice. Credit Northwestern, which unlike us came to play."