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Seahawks advance

Roll past Dolphins for playoff victory

CHOCOWINITY — Southside continued its winning ways on Monday as it opened up the first round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs with a convincing 53-28 win over Ocracoke.

Last week, the Seahawks (20-3) won their conference tournament to become the Four Rivers Conference regular season and tournament champions. Last night, Southside, the No. 1 seed, sailed past the Dolphins to advance to the next round of the playoffs where it will face the winner of the North Edgecombe-Mattamuskeet game on Wednesday.

The win was the first playoff victory for Southside coach Bill lake, who has paced the Seahawks’ sideline for five seasons.

“It wasn’t as easy as it looked because we started very poorly,” Lake said. “We were totally asleep out there but we called a timeout early because we were behind, but the girls woke up. We switched defenses and that made a big difference.”

Ocracoke, which hails from the Tideland Conference, entered the postseason having earned a wild card birth with a 4-8 overall record and jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start the game. That’s when Lake called his timeout.

“I told them we needed to pick up the pace,” Lake said.

“Then they started to get some steals. We found some weakness on their staff and started to take advantage.”

After Lake called his timeout at the Seahawks responded by ending the quarter on a 13-0 run which was highlighted by guard Katisha Hyman’s nine first-quarter points. Hyman would end the game leading all scorers with 18. Chante Painter added eight points for Southside, as did teammate Melvisha Dudley.

Ocracoke was led by the versatile Echo Bennink who tallied 12 points.

From that point on the Seahawks coasted to a 26-9 halftime lead and were not threatened the rest of the way.

Southside started an unusual lineup, and Lake substituted early and often to get as many players minutes as possible. Playing against an inferior team is not always as great as it sounds. Developing bad habits and the potential for injuries is always a scare for top-seeded coaches in the early rounds of the playoffs. Plus, there is always the potential for the favorite to drop its guard and get stunned by the underdog.

“I had a lot worries coming into tonight’s game,” Lake said. “(The Dolphins) were 4-8 but if you look their four victories all came at the end of the season, and I was really worried that our girls would take them too lightly like we did at the start of the game.”

Despite the slow start, Southside played the next three quarters well and gave Lake a reason to smile when the buzzer sounded.

“You always feel relieved when the girls finally kick it into gear and do what they are supposed to do and take care of business,” Lake said. “I feel very good that we got this one behind us.”

Ocracoke 4 5 9 10 — 28

Southside 13 13 19 8 — 53

Dolphins (28)

Flores 7, Perez 7, Echo Bennink 12, Tellez 2

Seahawks (53)

Starkie 7, Katisha Hyman 18, Purdue 6, Dudley 8, Thomas 4, Painter 8, Mourning 2.