Cougars dig deepPublished 5:17pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013
ROBERSONVILLE — As the regular season came to a close South Creek was flying high until a scrappy, shorthanded Riverside team handed the rival Cougars a stunning defeat in the regular season finale. The loss not only cost them bragging rights, but a No. 2 seed in this week’s Four Rivers Conference tournament.
On Tuesday, the third-seeded Cougars took a step toward climbing out of the crater by holding on top No. 6 Northside 59-50 to advance to the semifinal round of the tournament.
“I think losing (to Riverside) taught them a lesson,” South Creek coach Darryl Pittman said. “We like to say once you dig a ditch plant a seed and hope something will grow from it. That loss was like digging a ditch and I hope we learned from it.”
Just how much the players took from Pittman’s philosophy lesson is yet to be determined. The Cougars (20-5) had Northside (15-9) on the ropes several times on Tuesday but always seemed to let the Panthers box their way out of the corner.
After two quarters of play South Creek held a slim 26-22 lead and showed flashes of its full potential in the third as Jaquan Durham and Laquan Boston combined for nine points to take a commanding 44-33 lead into the fourth.
Durham led all scorers with 17 points, while Boston finished with 14 and Sha’he Mourning added 13.
That momentum did not carry over into the final period as the Cougars failed to close out on the Panthers’ shooters, allowing them to snipe away from downtown while 6-8 center Edrice Adebayo compiled six fourth-quarter points and was able to trim the lead to 46-43 after hitting a pair of free throws with 4:12 remaining.
Adebayo would end the game leading Northside with 15 points, while Antonio Woods produced 11 and Caleb Sherman tallied 10.
The threat of their second straight loss was enough to snap South Creek back into action as it retaliated by ending the game on a 13-7 run to advance.
With the win, South Creek has now beaten Northside three times on the year, with each game following the same pattern.
“We just didn’t seem to be able to make enough buckets at crucial times,” Northside coach Mike Proctor said.
With the loss, Northside, who did not qualify for an automatic berth into the NCHSAA 1-A state playoffs, must now wait to find out if it will be handed an invitation to the big dance.
“We’re going to have to see if we’re going to get a wild card spot,” Proctor said. “I feel like we will, but I just don’t know.”
Northside 11 11 11 17 — 50
South Creek10 16 18 15 — 59
Antonio Woods 11, Caleb Sherman 10, Edrice Adebayo 15, Arthur 6, Slade 4, Plasacenia 2.
Jaquan Durham 17, Laquan Boston 14, Pelt 6, Sha’he Morning 13, Barnes 2, Williams 4, Outlaw 3.