The Northside boys basketball team was aiming for a perfect season until it was upset by rival Cave Spring in the Region 3D championship.
But in the VHSL Class 3 state semifinal, the Vikings would get revenge.
Northside sophomore guards Cy Hardy and Mykell Harvey’s aggressive mentality led the Vikings past Cave Spring 58-52 in the VHSL Class 3 semifinals at Hidden Valley High School on Monday.
“Our seniors have been phenomenal and they were phenomenal tonight, but we got some really good younger guys,” Northside coach Bill Pope said. “And so it is a good mixture but when you're out there, you're not really thinking of age or anything.”
Hardy led both teams with 21 points.
“[The game] gets competitive like that. I just get in the mode,” Hardy said.
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The game between two Roanoke County schools brought out the community. By 5:45 p.m. the line to get into Hidden Valley High School was all the way to the parking lot and the teams got a standing ovation at tip-off.
Both teams made the $12 price of admission worth it.
Northside (28-1) will head to the VHSL Class 3 championship for the first time since winning it in 2019.
“That’s great [to go to a state championship] as a sophomore and we going try to go back next year too,” Harvey said.
Late in the second quarter, Harvey made an up-and-under layup over Cave Spring’s Dylan Saunders while drawing a foul to extend the Vikings' lead to 29-19.
The Vikings gained the lead from their physicality. Northside took nine more shot attempts than Cave Spring in the first half.
Northside’s Ja’Chan Anthony started the game guarding Saunders and ended the first half guarding Cave Spring guard Graham Lilley. His versatility was key for Pope’s defense.
In the third quarter, Cave Spring’s (23-6) Stark Jones, who had 15 points, sparked a comeback. He made back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the Vikings' lead to 34-32. Pope called a timeout and Jones jumped in the air to chest bump his teammate.
With 5:45 to go in the fourth quarter, Harvey, who had 13 points, dunked on Jones to extend the Vikings' lead to 43-39.
An 8-0 run led by a Harvey midrange shot gave the Vikings a 47-37 lead with 2:59 to go in the fourth quarter.
Lilley made a free throw and 3-pointer to cut the Vikings' lead to 47-41 with 2:05 left in the fourth quarter.
Cave Spring’s Saunders, who had 13 points, missed two 3-pointers for the Knights before getting fouled while making a clutch 3-pointer with 35.4 left in the fourth quarter. The Vikings' lead was cut to 54-50 and on the next inbound play, Cave Spring’s Cam Parker stole the pass. Cave Spring’s Bays Bryant had a wide-open 3-pointer, but it barely touched the rim.
So, the Knights had to foul Harvey, who made both free throws, but Jones scored a quick layup to cut the Vikings' lead to 56-52 with 17.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Hardy made one free throw on the Vikings' next possession and grabbed a clutch free throw after a Cave Spring miss. Hardy made the game-clinching free throw after getting intentionally fouled.
“Every day in practice, we work on free throws before practice and after practice and we get a lot of free throws up during practice,” Hardy said.