Seahawks win thriller

Published 11:38 pm Friday, February 24, 2012

Coaches and players of the Southside girls’ basketball team pose for a picture after topping Riverside 54-52 in the District Round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs Friday night at Riverside High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

WILLIAMSTON — Smiles come few and far between for Southside coach Bill Lake when he is pacing the sidelines for the Seahawks. Win or lose, the coach’s poker face tends stay intact until long after the final buzzer.
However, on Friday night he allowed for a brief crack in the façade as beamed a smile that expressed both relief and jubilation. And why not? After all, his Seahawks had just pulled off the biggest win of his six-year tenure by topping No. 1 seed Riverside 54-52 to earn a district championship and advance to the regional semifinals of the state playoffs.
“This is a great feeling. That was a great team and it was a great game tonight,” Lake said. “It came down to the last 14 seconds. It’s just a shame these two teams met in this round of the playoffs.”
In a game filled with big plays from both teams, it was Southside’s dynamic duo of Katisha Hyman and Chante Painter that would make the biggest.
With the game tied at 52 with 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Southside inbounded the ball and was instructed to hold for one final shot. However, Painter was able to pump-fake herself free of two Riverside defenders and found herself wide open for an 8-foot baseline jumper. The temptation was too strong to resist, but the shot would not be as true as her intentions.
With eight seconds left on the clock Riverside rebounded the Painter miss and looked to fastbreak but its outlet pass was intercepted by Hyman, who quickly dished off to Painter for a shot at redemption and a district championship. Painter earned both.
Hyman would end the game leading all scorers with 17 points while Painter tallied 11.
With four seconds left the Knights had to go the length of the court to tie or top the Seahawks. Riverside coach Hughes Barber called timeout and drew up play to be executed from the baseline, but because of when his timeout was actually granted, his team had to inbound the ball from the side. Despite the change in plans, Riverside was able to get the ball up court and into the hands of Dasia Moore who fired off a last-second shot from within 15-feet that flirted with the rim before deciding to go elsewhere.
“It was a battle. It was everything that we knew it would be, just two great teams on the court battling it out,” Barber said. “The game wasn’t lost in the end and they didn’t win it on one shot either. The game was won and lost on a lot of different possessions.”
The Seahawks victory concluded an ongoing saga between the team teams that spanned over four games this season with each winning two apiece.
The two Four Rivers Conference rivals split their two regular season meetings en route to sharing the regular season conference crown. During last week’s conference tournament Riverside was able to top the Seahawks to earn the tourney title and the No. 1 seed in the East before the Seahawks returned the favor Friday night.
Southside will resume its playoff run on Thursday when they will play in the Regional Round of the playoffs inside the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville.

Southside    14    17    15    8    –    54
Riverside     15    13    11    13    –    52
Seahawks (54)
Katisha Hyman 17, Chante Painter 11, Deandria Purdue 10, Ruffin 6, Mourning 8, Tisdale 2.
Knights (52)
Little 6, Moore 6, Burnett 5, Wynn 9, Armstrong 8, Brown 8, McCray 1, Wilson 5, Rodgers 3, Brown 2.