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Plymouth slips past Northside

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
YEATESVILLE — It wasn’t supposed to be that close. Before Friday night’s game between Plymouth and Northside, the general consensus was the 9-5 Vikings would roll over the 1-12 Panthers.
The consensus was wrong as Northside came out firing against a Plymouth team that featured a short roster because of some disciplinary issues. However, in the end it was Northside’s momentum that came up short as the Vikings pulled out a 76-67 win.
Northside’s T.J. Slade and Dontae Dixon exploded in the first quarter scoring a combined 15 points to help the Panthers (1-13) take a 19-17 lead.
Slade bombed away from beyond the arc, nailing three 3-pointers to propel the Panthers’ offense. Slade finished with 17 points while Dixon led the Panthers with 18.
With star forward Angelo Sharpless on the bench for the first quarter, Plymouth’s offense didn’t look as sharp it usually does. However, Curtis Chesson stepped up for the Vikings pouring in nine points in the first eight minutes.
Northside continued its hot shooting in the second quarter behind the play of Markel Simmons.
He scored all 11 of his points in the first half.
The Vikings (10-5) got a boost when Sharpless entered the game, and the forward contributed immediately as his reverse layup along the baseline knotted the score at 19.
The Panthers made a late rally before halftime and took a 40-24 lead when Simmons drained a three right before the break.
Not happy with his team’s play, Plymouth coach Vershawn Eley demanded his team step up.
The Vikings aced Eley’s challenge in the third as they went on a 29-10 run behind a steady diet of pressing and trapping that gave the Panthers fits.
After going into the break down 40-34, the Vikings held a 63-50 lead heading into the fourth.
Northside kept around in the late stages of the game and got within eight points of Plymouth when Slade nailed a seven-footer to make it 73-65. The Panthers would never get any closer.
While the boys game was decided in the fourth quarter, the girls’ matchup was over after the first as the Vikings sailed away with a 60-41 win.
Plymouth’s Whitney Stokes and Sakina Brown were unstoppable, scoring 23 and 17 points, respectively, with most of them coming in the first half.
The Vikings’ press put a stranglehold on the Panthers’ offense and led to may quick points for Plymouth (10-1).
Northside coach Michelle Leathers admitted her team had trouble with Plymouth’s pressure.
The Panthers (3-7) were led by Rakim Jordan and Suzanne Lee, who each scored 12 points.
Both teams will be back in action on Tuesday as Northside travels to Gates, while Plymouth will host Willimaston.
Plymouth 17 17 29 14 — 76
Northside 19 21 10 17 — 67
Plymouth (76)
Adrian Webb 11, Curtis Chesson 21, James 5, Hunt 5, Angelo Sharpless 19, K. Chesson 6, Akeem Webb 11.
Northside (67)
T.J. Slade 18, Dontae Dixon 17, Linton 4, Martin 6, Cox 8, Markel Simmons 11. O’Neal 2.
Girls
Plymouth 23 17 11 9 — 60
Northside 7 12 11 11 — 41
Plymouth (60)
Whitney Stokes 23, Dance 8, Shakina Brown 17, Young 5, Jones 2, Norman 2, James 1.
Northside (41)
Suzanne Lee 12, Wilson 8, Rakim Jordan 12, Tetterton 2, Bennet 2, Burgess 2, Bonneo 2.