After coming up short of reaching the City championship game a year ago, the Northland High School boys basketball team was more determined than ever to make it back to that level.

After coming up short of reaching the City championship game a year ago, the Northland High School boys basketball team was more determined than ever to make it back to that level.

The Vikings did so by going 14-0 in league play and continued their hot play against City competition by winning the league championship game 73-61 over Walnut Ridge on Feb. 14 at Columbus East.

Junior forward Seth Towns led the way with 27 points and 14 rebounds for Northland, which finishes the regular season at 17-5 and has won eight City titles in nine seasons.

"This is an amazing experience," Towns said. "After we didn't make it last year, the players were all extremely hungry and we turned it up a notch."

Walnut Ridge, which dropped to 16-5 after losing in the City final for the fourth time in five seasons including the second year in a row, fell behind 13-10 with 3 minutes, 31 seconds left in the first quarter on a 3-pointer by Northland's D.J. Tyree Jr.

It trailed for the game's remainder.

Northland built a 34-23 lead with 1:05 to go in the first half, but the Scots rallied to within 36-29 by halftime.

During the third period, the Vikings' lead twice reached 11 before Walnut Ridge closed to within 54-46 heading into the final quarter.

After Northland stretched the lead back to 67-55 in the fourth period, the Scots answered with a 6-0 run but got no closer.

Walnut Ridge played without honorable mention all-City selection Tarik Wright, who is out with a broken hand.

Malik Harrison and James Manns each scored 13 for the Scots.

Maleek St. Valle scored 12 points, including making three 3-pointers, to complement Towns' performance for Northland.

"I think the biggest thing is that we missed some free throws and we let their pressure bother us," said Walnut Ridge coach Brian Shininger, whose team made just 13 of 28 from the foul line.