The No. 2-ranked North Sand Mountain varsity boys basketball team’s season came to a close with a tough loss.

NSM struggled early before making a late push at No. 1 Midfield before falling 92-85 to the Patriots in the Class 2A Northeast Regional semifinals Friday night at Midfield High School in Birmingham.

The loss ended NSM’s season at 25-6, the most wins for the Bison in a season in 18 years. NSM, which led the state in scoring average per game, won county and area titles and was the Sand Mountain tournament runner-up. 

The Bison were making their second regional tournament appearance in three years. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Northeast Regional semifinals were played on high school campuses rather than at Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum.

NSM fell behind 20-2 in the first quarter and battled early foul trouble before pulling within 28-13 after one quarter and 48-32 at halftime. NSM trailed 68-53 after three quarters before putting together a fourth-quarter rally.

Luke Maples scored a game-high 36 points for NSM while fellow senior Russ Marr netted 20. The Bison also got nine points from Derek Bearden, eight from Drue Carlton, six from Chandler Sullivan and three each from Lake Bell and Noah Helton.

Demariee Jones scored 28, Jamarkie Alexander scored 27 and Anthony Johnson had 24 for Midfield.

Class 1A Northeast Regional Semifinals | Jacksonville Christian 50, Skyline 47 — At Jacksonville, the No. 7-ranked Thunder rallied in front with just over three minutes to play and held off No. 8-ranked Skyline in the Class 1A Northeast Regional semifinals Friday.

Skyline finished 22-9. The Vikings extended the state’s long boys area tournament championship streak to 12 this season and advanced to the regional tournament for the fifth straight season. The Vikings were making their 17th regional appearance, most among Jackson County Boys programs. 

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Northeast Regional semifinals were played at high school campuses rather than at JSU.

Skyline trailed 16-10 after one quarter and 27-24 at halftime before leading 38-34 after three quarters. 

Weston Avans scored 19 points for Skyline while senior Jaylon Clements netted 14. The Vikings also got seven from Logan Evans, three from Dylan Knight and two each from Chase Bickers and Matt Burton.

Tanner Wilson led Jacksonville Christian with 23 points while Landon Willis scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.

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