By Tim Donelli
For a second straight season the Northside Christian Knights are NCISAA 2A state champions.
The Knights picked up a convincing and well-earned 84-63 win Saturday over the First Assembly Eagles of Concord.
Northside (32-2) once again – as it has all season – used a deep bench to wear down its opponent with five Knights scoring in double figures.
Northside was led by senior James Demery with 22 points. Senior Philip Reed added 16, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Austin Dasent and Keyshawn Woods had 15 and 14 points, respectively.
“I can’t explain it,” Northside coach Byron Dinkins said of the back-to-back titles. “This is almost a different team. The kids we had coming back, they didn’t play as much as they did this year. Just to see the looks on their faces says it all for me.”
It could have been a long day for First Assembly (25-5) had it not been for senior Kriston Beasley, who had a game-high 33 points. Charles Minlend also had 15 for First Assembly, while Stefan Fundic added 11.
First Assembly stayed within five points of the Knights through the first quarter, but then Northside mounted a 14-0 run to start the second quarter, building a20-point lead.
The Eagles went on a mild run before the half and trailed 36-23 at the break. Only four players scored in the first half for First Assembly.
Leading by 12 points at the start of the fourth quarter, Northside went on a 7-0 run, and First Assembly never again threatened.
“It feels good,” Reed said. “We worked hard all year, and we earned it this season. With all the hard work and dedication, we feel fortunate.”
With Northside set to lose three top seniors to graduation, Dinkins opted to bask in the victory rather than ponder the future.
“I’ll think about that tomorrow,” he smiled. “Right now I just want to enjoy this one.”
NOTES: Demery and Woods were named to the NCISAA all-state team, as was First Assembly’s Beasley.
By Tim Donelli Correspondent Charlotte Observer Copyright 2013 .