Sparked by 42 points from senior guard Amber Campbell, the Northwood Academy girls' basketball team successfully completed a three-game run through the Atlantic Division of the Carolina Invitational Tournament on Sunday, defeating Butler High of Louisville, Ky., 71-59, to capture the bracket championship.
Campbell poured in 20 points during a decisive third quarter that allowed Northwood to open up a 55-34 lead on its way to the title. Campbell, who has signed with Wake Forest, was named the Most Valuable Player of the Atlantic Division bracket, scoring 118 points in three victories.
Northwood jumped out to a 13-0 lead four minutes into the game as Campbell scored 10 of Northwood's first 17 points en route to an 18-12 advantage after one period.
"That good start was really important, and I thought we did a good job for the most part of playing with the lead and maintaining the edge," said Northwood coach Presley Singleton. "We played about eight minutes without Amber and we continued to score. Amber had another outstanding game, but I continue to see a lot of other players stepping up and contributing. We just continue to work hard and try to improve every day."
As Butler started to hit some shots, it was able to employ its fullcourt pressure, which Northwood had trouble with at times. Butler trimmed the margin to 28-22 late in the second quarter, but Campbell scored the final three points of the period for a 31-22 halftime lead.
Campbell then put the game away, exploding for nine points in less than three minutes to push Northwood's lead to 42-22. The margin would reach 23 at 49-26 on Campbell's fifth steal and layup with 3:48 remaining in the third period. Northwood led, 55-34, heading into the final period.
"I thought our man-to-man defense was good and we did a good job on their outside shooters," said Singleton. "We had some issues against the press, but we have not been pressed that much really this year. So we certainly have some things to work on, but I'm very pleased to win today. That was a good team we beat today."
Butler was led by Danielle Lawrence's 17 points.
In the Island Division championship at Bishop England, Bullitt East (Ky.) beat Northwestern, 59-39. Heathwood Hall beat Salem (Va.), 58-41, for the Patriot Division title at St. John's. Westwood edged Myrtle Beach, 46-40, for the Battery Division crown at James Island.
The Carolina Invitational will wrap up with four more championship contests this afternoon. Bishop England will host a Palmetto Division final between Mt. Tabor (N.C.) and Stephenson High (Ga.). First Baptist and Porter-Gaud will play at St. John's High in the Harbor Division final.
Fort Dorchester will play East Hall (Ga.) in the River Division final at James Island High School, and Hanahan High will host the Coastal Division final between West Charlotte (N.C.) and Dacula (Ga.).
All finals are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
Northwood (71) Campbell 42, Martin 8, Powell 7, Davis 5, Heath 4, Crowell 3, Sumter 2.
Butler (59) Lawrence 17, Lewis 10, Penn 8, Torrens 6, Goodlett 6, Winebrenner 5, Just 4, Casey 3.
Northwood 18 13 24 16-71
Butler 12 10 12 25-59