A sluggish start at home against Forest Park in the second round Tuesday was too much to recover from as the Lady Patriots fell 60-49 in the Class AAAAA state tournament, ending their season short of their ultimate goal.
Despite the loss, the season included a region title and an undefeated region record, which coach Candace Turner said would be the focus of the team after its loss.
“I think we’re all aware of what needed to be done and what we didn’t do tonight,” she said. “I don’t think they need to be told. We’ll look at those accomplishments and take pride in that.”
While Forest Park’s final margin of victory extended to double digits, Northside nearly had plenty more to be proud of Tuesday. It fell behind by 13 points at halftime and by as many as 15 in the third, but a late 7-1 run heading into the fourth got things back to single digits.
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The Lady Patriots continued their late charge opening the final period, cutting the lead to 46-41, nearly cutting it to three when they had a layup opportunity on a fast break. That try rimmed out, however.
They got it to within four with just over five minutes to go and within three with three minutes, 38 seconds left. Forest Park, however, went into keep-away mode, limiting Northside’s remaining opportunities. What opportunities it had were not fruitful, and seven unanswered free throws in the final minute gave Forest Park the 11-point victory.
Turner agreed that much of the game was one step forward and two steps back.
“Even in the second half,” she said. “(Forest Park) is disciplined. Even when we made runs, they held their composure. A lot of props to them. It wasn’t one thing that beat us, just a lot of little things.”
Northside was led by Taylor Jakes’ 18 points in the loss. Forest Park had three players in double figures: Tiffany Wilson and Tamecia Blue with 13, and Breania McElrath with 12.
Forest Park advances to the state quarterfinals where it will meet Effingham County.
Tuesday at Northside
Forest Park 15 19 12 14—60
Northside 13 8 16 12—49
Forest Park (60)
Tiffany Wilson 13, Tamecia Blue 13, Breania McElrath 12, Richards 8, Thompson 6, Thorpe 4, Hugh 2, Matthews 2.
Taylor Jakes 18, Je. Herndon 8, C. Jakes 8, Ja. Herndon 7, Davis 4, Austin 2, Gahagan 2.
Records: Forest Park, 23-8; Northside, 23-6. Next: Forest Park, vs. Effingham County; Northside, season over.