Northside hit six straight free throws in the final 65 seconds of play as the Patriots eased by a determined Richmond Hill team by a 61-56 count Saturday night in the second round of the Class AAAAA state tournament.
In fact, the Patriots trailed most of the contest as there were no less that 11 lead changes with the visiting Wildcats leading most of the game. Northside (24-4) finally edged ahead on Jeremy Floyd's three-pointer that made the score 45-40, when Richmond Hill (12-17) had to foul. The Wildcats did cut it to three at 53-50 but again nine of 12 free throws in the fourth period saved the win for the Patriots.
"I knew going into the game that we would be playing a disciplined team and we did. Their floor spacing and offense makes you play at their pace. Other coaches told me this was the most disciplined team in the state," said Northside coach Kenny Lawrence after the game.
"But what I liked was the way our intensity, especially on defense, picked up in the fourth quarter. That and those free throws made the difference," he added. "The first half we weren't talking on defense and they took advantage."
The Wildcats led at the end of the first and third quarter, sparked by Daniel Wilder, who had a game-high 22 points for Richmond Hill. Their leading scorer, Jeremiah Hill was held to 10 points.
"We knew Hill was a threat as he had 37 in their last game for the win and Wilder was their number two," Lawrence said of his opponents.
Three Patriots were in double figures with BJ sessions scoring 16 points, Jay Sears with 11 and Floyd with 10.
Northside will host the next playoff game Wednesday night against the winner of the Whitewater-Jenkins of Savannah game. Time will be determined based on the opponents travel.
Saturday at Northside
Richmond Hill 14 12 12 17--56
Northside 12 16 9 24--61
Richmond Hill (56)
Daniel Wilder 22, Jeremiah Hill 10, Myers 2, Terrance McCall 12, Ferguson 8, Cardiff 2, Irvin.
BJ session 16, Jay Sears 11, Jeremy Floyd 10, Beverly 8, Thomas 8, Vincent 7, Tandovich. Fouled Out-McCall, Myers (RH), Sears (N). Three-Point Goals-Hill 2, Wilder 2 (RH); Floyd 2, Sessions, Sears (N). Records-Northside (24-4), Richmond Hill (12-17).