Strictly business for Seahawks

Published 7:01 pm Monday, February 27, 2012

Southside coach Bill Lake (center) and his Seahawks will resume their run at a state title on Thursday when it plays Southeast Halifax in the 1-A East Regional semifinals in the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

FAYETTEVILLE — This time last year the Southside girls’ basketball team was taken by surprise by the magnitude of the Crown Arena and the surrounding hoopla that goes along with making it to the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional semifinals.
That won’t happen again, as a more savvy Seahawks squad makes their return to the regionals with a strictly business mentality.
In the 2010-11 season, Southside strung together a 22-3 record and marched into its regional semifinals matchup against Goldsboro with juniors Katisha Hyman and Chante Painter leading the charge. However, the young group was a little awestruck by the experience and would go on to fall 69-33 to the Cougars.
“We definitely did (get a little wide-eyed), definitely,” Southside coach Bill Lake said during Monday’s East Regional press conference in Fayetteville. “My assistant coaches said that during the first timeout the TV cameras came right into our huddle and you could see the girls kind of become a deer in the headlights so to speak.”
This time around the No. 5 Seahawks (27-3) are hoping that last year’s experience will pay dividends when they take on No. 3 Southeast Halifax (23-3, Tar Roanoke) in the Crown Coliseum, which is adjacent to the Crown Arena.
“Being able to come back and be familiar with where we are going, what kind of a bus ride it is and what the basic facility is like is helpful,” Southside coach Bill Lake said. “Unfortunately, this year they moved us from the (Crown) Arena to the (Crown) Coliseum but at least the girls have an idea of where we’re going to be.”
To help better prepare his team for what they will face during the tourney Lake plans on covering all the angles at practice this week.
“We’ve got to get ready to do things to get ourselves physically and mentally ready as to what we are going to do for the game,” Lake said. “We’re going to spend some of the time talking about the length of the trip (approximately two hours), and the fact that it’s a bigger building than any one they have ever played in and those kind of things so they don’t walk out on the floor in a panic.”
Aside from the mental adjustment, the Seahawks will have to physically get used to playing on a college-sized court, which figures to be a factor on both offense and defense.
“It helps and it hurts. If you’re on defense I think it hurts because there’s more room for everybody to get out of those traps and they can spread the floor out more and it’s harder to cover,” Lake said. “On offense, boy it’s great. You have all that extra room and if you’re fast you can just take off running because you know you can outrun (defenders).”
If the Seahawks can outrun Southeast Halifax it will move on to the East Regional finals where it will face the winner of the No. 1 Lakewood (27-1)-No. 2 Goldsboro (25-2) matchup on Saturday.