MANCHESTER -- Humble and often soft spoken, it's sometimes hard to believe that Khalid Nwandu is the same player who can simply take over games.
But he did just that for the Northeastern boys' basketball team Monday night vs. Central York.
"My teammates were good at getting me the basketball," Nwandu said.
That statement is true. But the 6-foot, 2-inch Nwandu left out the part about getting the ball at the top of the paint and driving to the bucket for an off-balance layup while getting bumped by Central defenders. And he neglected the fact that he scored eight of Northeastern's last nine points in the final minutes in a thrilling 58-56 win over the visiting Panthers.
The Northeastern senior and NCAA Division I Mount St. Mary's recruit scored 20 of his game-high 32 points in the second half. In the process, Nwandu became the 13th Northeastern boys' player to surpass the 1,000 career point plateau. He reached the milestone on a spinning baseline layup with 1:45 left.
"I actually forgot how much I had at that point," he said. "I was just so focused on winning the game."
The bucket pulled Northeastern to within 53-52 of Central. As some fans yelled to stop the game momentarily to acknowledge the 1,000-point accomplishment, Nwandu continued on with his performance.
Central's Darian Hampton (team-high 12 points) hit a jumper to give the Panthers a three-point advantage. Nwandu answered with one of his two 3-pointers to tie it, 55-55, with 1:10 to play.
After a free throw from Panthers' forward Charlie Gingrich (10 points), Nwandu came back by driving from the top of the key for a layup to put Northeastern up, 57-56, with 40 seconds left.
Panthers' guard Sam Saxton missed a layup on Central's next possession and Northeastern's Braheem Riley hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it a two-point game with 11.4 seconds left. Central had one last chance to tie when point guard Corey Hartz drove to the lane and kicked out to Royce Clemens for a potential game-winning 3-pointer. But the shot hit off the backboard and rimmed out at the buzzer.
Northeastern's student section responded by engulfing Nwandu at the other end of the floor.
"That was crazy," Nwandu said. "One of the greatest moments of my life."
Northeastern stayed atop York-Adams Division II with the win, improving to 6-2 in the division and 8-5 overall. The Bobcats have now won two straight since last week's 55-40 loss at Dover. But that loss featured a 2-3 zone from Dover. Both teams played man-to-man defense on Monday night, often jumping in passing lanes in an effort to get out and run the floor.
"That's just the way they play. They're better off that way," Northeastern coach Jon Eyster said of Central.
The Panthers (4-3 Division I, 5-8 overall) got most of their first-half points in the paint to lead 29-22 at halftime.
"They had tons of points in the paint but we had 12 unforced turnovers (in the first half)," Eyster said. "And we missed a ton of inside shots."
Northeastern outscored the Panthers 21-9 in the third quarter to take a 43-38 advantage into the final period. Central opened up the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run to go up 49-45 with just more than five minutes to play.
"We're not gonna fold up down the stretch," Nwandu said. "We work on tight-game situations like that in practice. We put a minute or two up on the clock and we work the ball around and try to get a good shot and that's what we did tonight."
OTHER BOYS' BASKETBALL
DALLASTOWN 58, WEST YORK 46: At Dallastown, Ethan Sutton poured in 24 points to power the Wildcats. Ben Doorn added 13 for the Wildcats, while Mike Gibbs added 11. Dallastown trailed at halftime, 27-23, but used a 35-19 second-half edge to grab the victory. Dallastown improved to 9-5 overall and 5-3 in York-Adams Division I.
YORK HIGH 98, KEN NARD-DALE 44: At Fawn Grove, York High just missed hitting the century mark while rolling to its sixth straight victory. The Bearcats' Tavon Parker and Jahaire Wilson pumped in 29 and 23 points, respectively. Ramel Stephens (12 points) and Derek Wilson (11 points) also finished in double figures for the winners. K-D's Ryan Trott connected for 17 points. York High improved its York-Adams Division I record to 8-0 and its overall mark to 12-2.
RED LION 43, NEW OXFORD 37: At New Oxford, the Lions' and Colonials' offenses, after managing just 22 and 20 points, respectively, in the first three quarters, both came to life in the fourth quarter. Red Lion secured the victory with a 21-17 edge in the final quarter. Kevin Hutchinson led the winners with 10 points while Mike Fox added nine points, and Austin Huson, eight, for the Lions, who were an excellent 11 of 13 from the foul line. Red Lion's Evan Miller nailed all six of his foul shots. Alex Decinti and Ross Starner each scored 10 points for New Oxford, and Austin Kibler supplied nine points. Red Lion is now 4-4 in Division I and 8-5 overall.
SUSQUEHANNOCK 76, FAIRFIELD 52: At Glen Rock, Susquehannock seized control of the crossover game early, outscoring the Green Knights, 19-8, in the first quarter. Justin McLee, Dan Ferraro and Tyler Brooks teamed for 53 of the Warriors' points. Susquehannock was on target from the foul line, connecting on 11 of 13 tries. Quintin Smith scored 12 points for Fairfield, and Jarrett Shoemaker and Zach Ott added 11 points apiece.
YORK SUBURBAN 55, YORK CATHOLIC 45, OT: At York Catholic, the Trojans blew a nine-point fourth-quarter lead, only to outscore the Fighting Irish 15-5 in overtime. Evan Eberhardinger poured in 22 points for the winners, while P.J. McClane added 10. Erich Hartman led York Catholic with 14 points, while Matt McKim added 11. The victory avenged Suburban's 67-56 loss to the Irish on Dec. 27 in the Robert Griffith Holiday Classic semifinal.
EASTERN YORK 68, YORK TECH 40: At Wrightsville, Dalton Reichard (17) and Cody Bollinger (12) each hit double figures to lead the Golden Knights. No one for Tech had more than eight points.
SOUTH WESTERN 45, DOVER 38: At Dover, Mike Duffy and Parker Bean led the Mustangs with 10 points apiece. For the Eagles, Ryan Beck and Josh McMahon each scored 11 points, while Jared Mummert scored 10. South Western improved to 6-2 in York-Adams Division I, and 9-5 overall.
RED LION CHRISTIAN 77, NEW COVENANT CHRISTIAN 51: At Red Lion Christian, Jake Myers led the Swordsmen with 25 points, while Chance Thompson knocked in 20 points. Corbin Willard scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Zach Mercy scored 10 points.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.