Northside coach Kenny Lawrence wasn’t thrilled with his team’s first-half intensity and made sure they knew it halftime. It showed in the second half, as the Patriots rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit for a 74-68 win over Harris County.
The win clinched a playoff berth for Northside and ended Harris County’s season.
The Patriots scored just 27 of their 74 points in the first half, failing to take advantage of an eight-point first quarter for Harris County and getting outscored 26-13 in the second. But a 47-point surge in the second half and a handful of key free throws were enough to put the game away.
“I was a little concerned with how we started the game,” Lawrence said. “That was our third time playing them, and I actually thought we played them a little better the last time. I thought we’d play a little better tonight. I thought they had a little more intensity than us in the first.”
Northside came out strong in the third quarter, though. After giving up a three-point play and a putback inside to make it a 39-27 lead for Harris County, Northside went on a 12-0 run to tie things at 39. The Patriots took their first lead of the second half when Cordale Scott made a pair of free throws with 2:20 remaining in the third to make it 47-45. Northside led 52-49 after three quarters.
For every Northside punch, though, Harris County had a counterpunch in the second half. Aquavious Richardson scored 15 of his game-high 29 points in the final two quarters, keeping the Tigers within striking distance the entire way. Northside never pushed its lead beyond six points in the quarter and had to knock down a number of free throws down the stretch to keep Harris County at bay.
In the final minute, Northside made nine of its 10 free throws to offset the Tigers’ last-ditch effort.
“I thought we did a much better job making free throws tonight,” Lawrence said. “We did enough to hold them off at the end. That was enough.”
Freshman Jaykwon Walton led Northside in scoring with 19 points, followed by Davion Thomas’ 18. Dalandis Hopkins added 14 and Cordale Scott 12. In addition to Richardson’s 29 for Harris County, Jaylyn Fanning had 13 and D.J. Johnson 13.
Now, Northside turns its attention to LaGrange, the tournament’s top seed, which the Patriots will face in the semifinals on Friday. A win would guarantee home-court advantage in the first-round of the Class 5A playoffs. The two teams split their regular season matchup this year.
“I thought we should have won both, but we’re looking forward to getting another shot at them,” Lawrence said.
That game will be played at 7:30 p.m. Friday at LaGrange.
SHAW BOYS 72, COLUMBUS 59: The Shaw boys erupted for a 53-point first half, leading by 23 over Columbus at the break. Despite a lackluster second half in which they got outscored 29-19, the Raiders did enough to hang on for a 13-point victory.
The win clinched a playoff berth and a trip to the region semifinals for Shaw. It will face Carver on Friday at LaGrange, with home-court advantage in the Class 5A playoffs on the line. The loss ended Columbus’ season.
Shaw was led by Dakeen Diaz’s 26 points, 22 of which came during the first half. Kourtney Shakespeare added 14 and Cam Paulding had 11. For Columbus, Ja’Quan Mason notched 23 and Noah Lott 10 in the losing effort.
Wednesday at Shaw
Harris County 8 26 15 19—68
Northside 14 13 25 22—74
Harris County (68)
Aquavious Richardson 29, Jaylyn Fanning 13, D.J. Johnson 13, Leonard 9, Holloway 4.
Jaykwon Walton 19, Davion Thomas 18, Dalandis Hopkins 14, Cordale Scott 12, David 9, Richardson 2.
Records: Harris County, 9-16; Northside,17-8. Next: Harris County, season over; Northside, Friday vs. LaGrange at LaGrange..
Wednesday at Shaw
Columbus 9 21 15 14—59
Shaw 26 27 4 15—72
Ja’Quan Mason 23, Noah Lott 10, Smith 6, Houpt 6, Gardner 4, Thornton 4, Dalton 4, Dixon 2.
Dakeen Diaz 26, Kourtney Shakespeare 14, Cam Paulding 11, Brown 7, Knight 5, Porter-Wilson 4, Martin 3, Parker 2.
Records: Columbus, 9-17; Shaw, 18-8. Next: Columbus, season over; Shaw, Friday vs. Carver at LaGrange.