WARNER ROBINS -- Houston County had momentum, but Northside had experience.
Sparked by seniors Sabrina Moody, Chelsie Waters and Jasmine Wilson, the Lady Eagles shook off a second-quarter rally by their rivals and remained perfect in GHSA Region 1-AAAA with a 71-63 victory over Houston County on Friday. Northside (14-3, 5-0) maintained its hold on first place in the “A” side of the sub-region. The Lady Bears fell to 13-5. Houston County is winless in three region games.
“Our mentality coming in was that we’ve been dominant in region play so far, and we wanted to continue that,” Waters said.
With the scored tied at 19, Northside went on a 12-0 run midway through the second quarter and took what appeared to be a commanding lead. But behind the strong post play of sophomore Justice Wright, the Lady Bears stormed back. Houston County closed the half with a 10-0 run of its own and trailed just 31-29 at halftime. Wright finished with 26 points.
“We didn’t let (Houston County’s run) get us down,” said Waters, who scored five of her 13 points in the fourth quarter. “That’s how we are. We don’t let things get us down. We keep a positive attitude, and it carries over to the court.”
Wright hit a putback to tie the game at 31 in the opening seconds of the third quarter, but Houston County never pulled ahead. Wilson scored 10 of her 26 points in the third quarter to help keep the Lady Bears at bay.
Northside players attacked the basket throughout most of the ballgame. The Lady Eagles shot just 36 percent from the floor but were rewarded for their aggressiveness with 29 free-throw opportunities. They made 19 -- three more than Houston County attempted.
“We were aggressive trying to get to the basket.” Northside head coach Casaundra Wilson said. “Defensively, we wanted to make them make mistakes. Sometimes we put ourselves out of position.”
Moody, playing with flu-like symptoms, scored all four of her points during a key 30-second stretch midway through the fourth quarter. With Northside leading 54-51, Wright missed two free throws for Houston County. Moody was fouled on the other end of the court and made both her shots. Moments later, she scored a layup off a pass from Wilson to give Northside a 58-51 lead. The Lady Bears got no closer than a five-point deficit the rest of the game.
“She played big,” Casaundra Wilson said of Moody’s contribution.
Northside’s senior trio scored all but six of the Lady Eagles’ 23 fourth-quarter points.
Friday’s game was Houston County’s first with transfer Alexia Williams, who moved in from Birmingham, Ala., at the semester change. Williams scored 16 points off the bench for the Lady Bears.
In the boys game, Northside moved to 4-1 in region play with a 68-58 win. The teams struggled to score throughout most of the first half, but Northside sophomore C.J. Jackson hit three consecutive 3-point shots to give the Eagles a double-digit halftime lead. Jackson led the Eagles with 15 points.
Houston County remained winless in three region games.