Heart the key for SeahawksPublished 5:14pm Saturday, November 30, 2013
CHOCOWINITY — Southside head basketball coach Sean White may not know how his season is going to end, but if it’s anything like the way it started he will be overwhelmingly happy.
The Seahawks gave White one of his best opening day practices in years and he’s hoping that the good start translates to a good season.
“The first practice was really good. I was very pleased. I think in the 15-or-so years I’ve been coaching basketball it was the best first day practice that I’ve had, which surprised me,” White said. “It really showed me that they were ready to work hard and that they want to play.
“They hustled up and down the court. They didn’t give up. Even after turnovers they were hustling back. They were putting missed shots back up there. I stress finishing in practice and they were finishing.”
Southside finished last season 14-14 and lost in the second round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs.
This year, the team is minus graduated star guards Kyle White and Rokeem Miller. On top of that, the roster is not exactly blessed with height, so hustling and finishing will be two major keys to the team’s success this season.
“The strength of this team is going to be its heart,” said White, whose Seahawks are 1-1 after two games this season. “That showed in our first game (versus Mattamuskeet). They really came together. For some guys that haven’t played together a whole lot they did a good job of finding the open man and looking for good shots.”
This year’s team will be led by junior guard Donshae Moore and junior forward Aaron Jones, along with senior F/C Isaiah Moore, who will be out for about a month due to a broken arm sustained during football season.
Sophomore F/C Donshae Tatum is expected to give Southside boost in the paint in his first year on the varsity squad, while guard Rashawn Moore will be looked upon to provide some outside shooting.
Guard Darrius Whitley and forwards Austin Nobles and John McCormick will also be key members of the rotation.
Last year the Seahawks’ offense relied heavily on sniping from the outside and this year’s club is expected to do the same.
“We’re still trying to do a lot of the same stuff we did last year: pull the guys out, especially if they’re playing us man and open up some lanes to drive to the basket,” White said. “We’ve tweaked our zone offense a little bit but our man-to-man is basically the same.”
With a short but athletic roster, playing aggressive defense is a must. In its second game of the year, Southside turned up the heat on Columbia in the second half to run past the Wildcats 73-56.
“I’d like to think we’re a running team because of the way we press,” White said. “We have to make turnovers and finish on the other end.”