Northside Christian takes NCISAA 2A boys title
by: Alex Bass
Northside Christian trailed Davidson Day by 12 points in the first half of Saturday’s N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) 2A boys basketball state final – at Ravenscroft – then by five in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter.
But the second-seeded Knights, in their second state-title game in a row, never stopped fighting.
Northside Christian guard L.C. Cooks, who made just one first-half field goal, made his second basket a critical one. His 10-footer in the lane with 1:08 remaining secured a lead the Knights did not relinquish on the way to a 59-55 win that avenged the victors’ lone setback this season. The top-seeded Patriots won the regular-season meeting 64-59 on Jan. 14.
“We actually played like a team today,” Cooks said. “We had leaders that stepped up at the end.”
Northside Christian forward Justin Gordon (10 points) hit back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Knights a 47-46 advantage with more than four minutes remaining.
“We’ve been working on shooting in practice every day and on Saturdays,” Gordon said. “It was just my time to knock them down.”
Gordon, though, was not done. His biggest play, arguably, came on the defensive end in the last five seconds. With Northside Christian (31-1) leading 57-55, Davidson Day guard Rashun Davis zipped a pass into the lane intended for Richard Brown, who was poised to attempt a game-tying layup. Gordon timed his defensive rotation and forced a turnover before teammate Justin Ashford was fouled.
Ashford, who made all five of his free throws, sank both shots to cement the Knights’ winning margin and his game-high 20 points (10 in each half). “Everybody made plays,” Northside Christian coach Byron Dinkins said. “That’s what our team is all about.”
“We felt like we were in control of the first game, but we didn’t finish it,” Dinkins continued. “Today, we finished it with free throws, solid defense and rebounding.”
Davidson Day (31-4) led 27-15 in the second quarter, then took a 29-22 lead into halftime. Davis and Dorian Albritton combined for 19 of the Patriots’ first-half points before finishing with 18 and 15, respectively.
“We were ahead, and I felt like my guys were rushing,” Davidson Day coach Ron Johnson said. “It’s nice that we had that lead, but you know they’re going to make a run.”
James Logan converted consecutive three-pointers in Northside Christian’s 12-5 third quarter-opening spurt that tied the score at 34. The Patriots led 39-36 with eight minutes remaining.Cooks finished with 12 points, including five of six free throws in the fourth period, during which Davidson Day made nine of 10 foul shots.