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Lake Taylor falls to Northside in the Class 3 boys basketball title game as tempers flare in final minute

RICHMOND — Sports has a way of teaching life lessons.

And sometimes those lessons are hard to accept.

That’s what happened Friday night when Lake Taylor met Northside of Roanoke in the Class 3 boys basketball state championship game at VCU’s Siegel Center.

In a game that was close through the first two quarters, Northside pulled away to beat Lake Taylor 73-58 and win its second consecutive title.

But unfortunately the game will be remembered for the final minute, when tempers quickly spiraled out of control as players had to be separated, and security and coaches had to come on the court to calm the situation down and restore order.

With 57.9 seconds left, the game was stopped for more than 15 minutes as referees and Virginia High School League officials tried to sort things out.

Nearly 30 minutes after the game, a very solemn Lake Taylor coach, Derek “Yogi” Edwards, emerged from the locker room to face questions.

“I just told them that this is life,” he said. “Sometimes you can deserve it, want it but it just doesn’t happen. It’s a life thing. When you’re a coach, you’re raising boys to men.”

Obviously frustrated, Edwards quickly praised Northside for a well-played game.

“I think it was a great season. We got to the championship game. I don’t think we played our best ball,” he said. “Shout out to Northside. They played well and played like a championship team.”

Lake Taylor had the size advantage with two players 6-feet-8, while the Vikings started no one over 6-3, but Northside used its scrappiness and hustle to lead 26-25 at halftime.

The Vikings (28-3) carried the momentum into the third quarter with an 18-6 run. They ended up outscoring Lake Taylor 28-18 during the third quarter.

Lake Taylor, which lost only one game prior to Friday, tried to make a run in the fourth quarter as the Titans cut the deficit to 59-50 with 4:32 left. But the Vikings pulled away.

They were led by guard Mykell Harvey, who finished with a game-high 27 points. Cy Hardy and David Via chipped in with 17 and 13 points, respectively.

Lake Taylor senior Elijah Washington, who fouled out in the fourth quarter, led the Titans with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Rodney Baines had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Aaron Elliott and Shahide Battle finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The Titans, who finished 25-2, were trying to win their second state title. They also won in 2018 and finished runner-up in 2016. Edwards was an assistant coach on both of those teams.

“They deserve it,” he said about the Vikings. “They won the game.”

Larry Rubama, 757-575-6449, larry.rubama@pilotonline.com