CALUMET CITY | Nick Wood was the tonic for first-game jitters for T.F. North Friday night.
Though the senior may have left Evergreen Park with a bad taste in their mouths as he took over a close game and turned it into a blowout as T.F. North opened its season with a 65-33 win over the Mustangs Friday night.
Wood scored the last seven points of the first half to turn a close 26-21 Meteors lead into a 31-21 halftime advantage. He opened the third quarter by scoring seven of North's first nine points as they blew the game open with a 15-2 run to take a 45-23 lead.
"That is what I am supposed to do is lead and do it by example," Wood said. "I saw we were a little nervous and I think that run (before the half) gave us some confidence and then the third quarter, we just opened (the lead) up."
Wood finished with a double-double with game-highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Teammate D.J. Deere finished with 14 points, two assists and three steals, but said Wood turned the game in the Meteors' favor.
"He got us going and we came out more focused in the third quarter," Deere said. "We played tough defense, but we also had too many turnovers. When we started to build the lead, we got more relaxed out there."
North's full-court trap forced the Mustangs (0-2, 0-1 South Suburban Red) into 29 turnovers. North (1-0, 1-0 SSC Blue) had 21, but just three in the second half.
"Our defense is our strong point," Deere said. "Defense first, then the offense will come. We have to play good, tight defense if we are to be successful."
The Meteors outscored Evergreen Park 35-12 in the second half. The first half was sloppy as there were more combined first-quarter turnovers (22) than points scored (19). Evergreen Park had 22 first-quarter turnovers.
"I am glad we got those jitters out of the way," North coach Tim Bankston said. "They were a little tight with it being the first game, a nice little crowd, but they played through it."