By most standards, it was a fairly solid performance for the Northside boys basketball team on Friday night in the first round of the Georgia Class AAAAA state playoffs.
It defeated Richmond Hill 75-63 to advance to the second round. It held its opponent to four points in the first quarter, built up a 16-point lead by halftime and led by as many as 24 at one point in the fourth quarter. The win advanced the team to the second round of the playoffs, where it will host the winner of McIntosh and Lakeside-Evans on Tuesday.
So, it should be taken as a sign of the team’s high expectations and aspirations when its coach uses the word “disappointing” to describe the performance.
“It was a little disappointing,” he said of his team’s performance. “I thought we came out and played down to the competition a little bit. We did a terrible job rebounding and just didn’t play together like we like to.”
A 12-point victory may contradict his assessment, but Lawrence pointed out that his team led by 13 points, 17-4, after the first quarter. For the final three frames, Richmond Hill matched Northside point for point.
“They outplayed us in the second half in general,” Lawrence said. “Sometimes kids look at records and think things will be easier than they are. (Richmond Hill) is a well-coached, scrappy basketball team.”
And it was.
Thought it trailed by 16 points going into the third quarter, Richmond Hill cut the lead to 10 with a 7-0 run over the course of two minutes in the third. After a timeout, the Patriots regained their footing with back-to-back baskets from Dalandis Hopkins and Caleb Baker. Two minutes later, though, Richmond Hill had sliced the lead to single digits, 45-36.
Riding the interior presence of Davion Thomas and Phillip Whittington in the final quarter, though, Northside was able to pull away again to secure the victory. Both players notched seven points in the fourth quarter to lead the way. Thomas finished with 20 in the game, followed by Matthew Richardson at 16. Whittington finished with 11.
Northside got a solid performance from the defense, particularly in the first quarter, contesting shots and forcing turnovers in bulk.
“We didn’t want to give them any good looks,” Lawrence said. “We knew they had some guys that could shoot the basketball.”
Particularly Daniel Wilder, who finished with a game-high 28 points, knocking down 12 shots from the field. Ian Chandler added 14 in the losing effort.
With its loss, Richmond Hill’s season is over.
Northside girls 57, Glynn Academy 36
Like their male counterparts, the Lady Patriots exhibited some early playoff jitters in their first-round contest against Glynn Academy on Friday at Northside.
Neither team scored for the first three minutes of the game, and they only combined for nine in the opening quarter.
Despite more missed opportunities down the stretch, though, Northside recovered and sailed to a 57-36 victory. With the win, it will advance to the second round, where it will meet Forest Park. That game is likely to be played as part of a doubleheader with the boys on Tuesday, coach Candace Turner said after the game.
Northside’s early struggles on Friday were a result of missed chances in transition. Layups bounced off of the rim a handful of times and passes landed out of bounds or in the hands of the opposing defense.
“We came in with a plan, but once the game started we really didn’t execute well,” Turner said. “After the first quarter, I told them, alright, the jitters are out. Now let’s go play ball.”
Her team responded to the tune of 26 points in the second quarter, including 11 from senior leader Taylor Jakes. By halftime, the lead was 31-16, a far cry for the one-point margin after the first. Jakes finished with a team-high 13 points, which was matched by Briana Davis’ 13.
The lead stretched as high as 26 points in the fourth quarter.
Turner made it clear after the game, though, that her team couldn’t afford to face a full quarter of jitters before picking up steam again.
“We can’t do that again,” she said. “Hopefully we got them all out today.”
Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ledgerenquirersports.
Friday at Northside
Richmond Hill 4 16 17 26—63
Northside 17 18 16 23—75
Richmond Hill (63)
Daniel Wilder 28, Ian Chandler 14, Walker 8, McKinzie 8, Hall 5.
Davion Thomas 20, Matthew Richardson 16, Caleb Baker 12, Phillip Whittington 11, McGloin 9, Hopkins 5, Scott 2.
Records: Richmond Hill, 9-20, Northside, 17-10. Next: Richmond Hill, season over; Northside, Tues. vs. McIntosh/Lakeside-Evans
Friday at Northside
Glynn Academy 4 12 8 12—36
Northside 5 26 10 16—57
Glynn Academy (36)
Nesha Murray 11, V. Murray 9, Price 6, Derrick 5, Campbell 2, Singleton 2, Daniels 1.
Briana Davis 13, Taylor Jakes 13, Gahagan 8, C. Jakes 6, Burgos 6, Ramseur 5, Je. Herndon 4, Ja. Herndon 2.
Records: Glynn Academy, 16-10, Northside, 23-5. Next: Glynn Academy, season over; Northside, vs. Forest Park.