The Northview Titans (28-3, Region 7-AAAAAA 16-0) defeated the Stephenson Jaguars (20-11, Region 4-AAAAAA 14-4) 65-46 in the third round of the GHSA AAAAAA Girls Basketball Playoffs. The Titans got a scare late in the game from the Jaguars, but the game was never in doubt.
“I thought their pressure really started to get to us [because] we started to get tired there,” head coach Chris Yarbrough said.
The Lady Titans were able to break down the Jaguars’ press for most of the game. Before the mini run at the end by Stephenson, Northview got many opportunities in transition after missed shots by the Jaguars.
“We knew that they were going to bring relentless pressure, and they continued to do it, and I was super excited with the way we were able to break it early and get some easy looks,” Yarbrough said.
The Titans had four players finish in double figures with Shannon Titus leading the way with 21 points. Sophomore Ashlee Austin dominated the paint, finishing the game with 19 points. Maya Richards added 14 points and point guard Asjah Inniss chipped in with 10 points.
“Moving the ball with the pass and not the dribble was key to us avoiding getting trapped [and getting good shots],” Ashlee Austin said.
The Titans used a balance of offense and defense in the first half, which helped them gain a 35-16 advantage at the half. Northview’s presence inside once again played a big role in helping them get out to the early lead. Richards made a big impact at the start of the game, hitting the first couple shots of the game for the Titans and helping them to set the tone down low.
“When we were able to break the press, it gave the team confidence that we knew what we were doing,” Richards said.
The Lady Titans are now in the Final Four. They will face the Harrison Hoyas (24-5, Region 6-AAAAAA 15-0) on Saturday, March 3. The Hoyas pose the toughest threat yet to the Titans, as they dominated everyone in their region and only lost five games all year. It will also be particularly tough because this game will be the first one played on a neutral site and not at home.
The Titans have already made history. Having advanced further than any team in Northview Basketball history, they are in unchartered waters. The victory over the Jaguars means the Titans have now won 16 games in a row.
“As a team I think we just need to continue what we’ve been doing, such as playing amazing defense, and if we continue to play as a family we can keep winning,” Austin said.