Beasts of the East

Published 10:09 pm Saturday, March 3, 2012

Southside’s Katisha Hyman (22) reacts after scoring the first basket in overtime during the Seahawks 84-75 victory over Lakewood in the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional finals Saturday in the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

FAYETTEVILLE — Down 14 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter there was no definitive moment or pivotal play that got Southside back on track, just a quiet confidence amongst teammates that Saturday’s NCHSAA 1-A East Regional finals game against Lakewood would not its last of the season.
That faith would be confirmed as Southside rode the back of a 40-point effort by tournament MVP Katisha Hyman to top Lakewood 84-75 in overtime and advance to the state title game for the first time in school history.
Hyman was dominant as she continuously made big steals and baskets to keep the fueling the Seahawks’ late rally and lead them into next week’s state championship contest at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill.
“That’s the kind of player she is,” Southside coach Bill Lake said. “She does what’s needed and tonight we needed a lot of points.”
The No. 3 Seahawks (29-3) began the third quarter up 34-29 but where blitzed at the start of the second half as the No. 1 Leopards (28-2), who had won 27 straight games before Saturday, stormed out on a 17-0 run to pull ahead 46-34.
Led by guard, Brittany Boykin, who scored a team-high 24 points, the Leopards leaped into the final quarter up 49-40.
Lakeland would continue to step on the gas, and when Boykin converted a three-point play, the Leopards would pull ahead 61-47 with five minutes left to go in the game.
“Our girls dug real deep. We got into a hole and I thought we were pretty much out of it,” Lake said. “But once again, they showed me they have more heart than you could imagine.”
Slowly and collectively — a steal here, big bucket there — the Seahawks dug their way out of that 14-point hole, and after a forcing back-to-back jumpballs via tie-ups, Southside had a chance to force overtime as it inbounded the ball from the far side of the court with 6.1 seconds left in the game.
It was then that Chante Painter, who scored 13 points and was named to the all-tourney team, took a pass, dribbled down the left side of the court and converted a layup as time expired to tie the game at 68 and save the Seahawks’ season.
Though the rules said the two teams had to play a four-minute overtime, there was no need to. The Seahawks had all the momentum and were not going to let go of it.
With Lakeland star Teisha Rich (18 points) having fouled out of the game, Lakewood coach Lofton Kerr tried his best to rally his troops heading into the extra session but it was to no avail.
“I was telling them, “We can do this! Keep playing,” Kerr said. “But with our leader fouled out those faces didn’t show me that they were real confident.”
In the extra session Hyman put the Seahawks up for the first time in two quarters as she scored on old-fashioned three-point play and from there it was all Seahawks as they rode their momentum to a 16-7 run and an East Regional title.

Southside    20    14    6    28    16    –    84
Lakeland    16    13    20    19    7    –    75
Seahawks (84)
Ruffin 8, Katisha Hyman 40, Mourning 6, Chnate painter 13, Purdue 8, Stanbridge 2, Clark 2, Blango 5.
Leopards (75)
Moore 9, Brittany Boykin 24, Sasha Martin 12, Tasha Rich 10, Teisha Rich 18, Faircolth 2.