WARNER ROBINS -- Second chances, Northside had plenty of them.
Second-chance points? They were left all over the court under the rims.
But the Eagles’ defense was consistent and the offense hit enough spurts for a 69-53 win Wednesday over visiting Northside-Columbus in a first-round GHSA Class AAAAA playoff game.
“Unfortunately, that’s been the story the last couple weeks,” Northside head coach Scott Wynn said. “We had a lot of good looks that just didn’t fall. It happened to us in the region championship. We missed a lot of easy shots.”
The Eagles lost 62-57 to Warner Robins in that game Saturday but responded well with an energetic performance during which they trailed for less than a minute all night.
Three Eagles were in double figures, led by Darrin Clark’s 19 points. Sophomore Trayvon Willis added 12 and DeVonta Willis 11.
“The biggest thing, though, is it was a team effort,” Wynn said. “I felt like we were in control of the tempo the entire game. When we wanted to slow it down, the game was slow. When we wanted to speed them up, the game was fast.”
Clark and Trayvon Willis had five assists each and Jaylan Sandifer four. Marquaevious Williams led Northside wtih 13 rebounds.
Davion Thomas, a 6-foot-9 junior, topped the Patriots with 20 points. Phillip Whittington, a 6-7 senior, had nine.
Northside won a playoff-opening game for the second straight year, a first for the program.
The Eagles (16-10) are on the road Saturday to face Cedar Shoals, champion of Region 8-AAAAA and a 72-50 first-round winner over Kell. The Patriots’ season ended at 18-10.
The Eagles got quality shots all night and no doubt had one of their best rebounding games of the season.
Northside led 29-26 at halftime, despite shooting only 12-of-20. Northside-Columbus was close, despite shooting only 9-of-28. The visitors were helped by being perfect on seven free-throw tries while the hosts didn’t get to the line once.
The teams traded turnover flurries, the Eagles’ main one coming late in the second quarter when they had a chance to gain control, leading 27-20 when it started. Their only bucket in the final three minutes was Brandon Sandifer’s power move down low.
That broke a run of four straight turnovers, which the Patriots didn’t do much with, either.
The Eagles started easing away in the middle of the third quarter, starting with Clark’s drive and 3-pointer, Northside coming up empty on a five-shot possession in between.
Trayvon Willis added an athletic driving bucket and jumper to make it 40-33. Northside-Columbus crept back to within a bucket before the hosts got rolling again, ending the third with a buzzer-beating 3 from Clark to finally expand the lead to double figures.
A 6-0 run in the first 1:42 of the fourth quarter sealed it.
“Of the 10 kids that we play, seven of them are hurt,” Wynn said. “You’ve got ankles, wrists, fingers. They just played through it.”