'); } -->
After claiming the Region 1-AAAAA championship Saturday, pressure to get it done in the state tournament still surrounds an experienced Northside High School basketball team.
The Patriots, who earned a No. 1 seed in the tournament, passed the first test and handled Northgate High School at home, 64-46.
But, Northside head coach Kenneth Lawrence said his team must do better in the second round if they expect to make a run for the final four.
I thought we played OK in spots, Lawrence said. We didnt finish the game when it needed to be finished. We had a tendency to let them back into the game. I never felt like it was over. I want us to play a full 32 minutes.
Northside appeared to be in perfect form in the first half as Jeremy Floyd and R.J. Sessions opened the game with back-to-back pull-up 3-pointers. The Patriots had a 20-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and led by 18 at halftime.
Maybe they were a little too good.
We were a little too hyped, said Sessions, who led the Patriots with 20 points. We needed to settle down instead of rushing into shots. We let the crowd get into our head. We need to settle down and let the game come to us.
Northside couldnt match the same intensity and rhythm in the second half, which was almost even on both sides in scoring.
I thought the first half was outstanding, Lawrence said. We had a little bit too much chaos in the second half. There was a lot of defensive confusion; we left guys wide open.
Lawrence said he will look to his seniors seven in all to provide leadership going forward. Tay Sears, Northsides best defender, didnt play his best game against Northgate, Lawrence said.
Hes a guy who sets that the table defensively. He just had an off night tonight.
On Saturday, Northside edged Richmond Hill (12-17), 61-56 to advance to the AAAAA quarterfinals and will host Jenkins (Savannah, Ga.) Wednesday for a spot in the semifinals.