Seahawks ready to rebuild

Published 8:07 pm Saturday, November 24, 2012

This season Southside coach Bill Lake must find a way to replace graduated stars (from left) Valerie Ruffin, Katisha Hyman and Chante Painter, who helped lead the team to a 29-4 record and the state title game last year. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

CHOCOWINITY — It’s time to break out the hard hats and hammers at Southside, as the Seahawks girls’ basketball team looks to rebuild after losing three starters from its state-runner up squad of a year ago.
Last year the Seahawks had a run to remember as WDN Basketball Player of the Year, point guard Katisha Hyman, led Southside to a 29-4 record and the state title game.
Hyman, who graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer, teamed up with versatile guard/forwards Chante Painter and Valerie Ruffin to set a single-season school-record for most wins, and now the challenge for head coach Bill Lake is to figure out how to replace them.
Helping smooth the transition are returning starters DeAndria Purdue and Kyajia Mourning, who will bring a veteran presence to the low post while Lake looks to find replacements on the perimeter.
“We lost three starters off of last year’s squad, all my outside players. So we are somewhat retooling,” Lake said. “Inside, we are fairly solid with De back and Kyajia and Taylor Standbridge is finally healthy.”
So how do you replace the 15.7 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 steals per game Hyman brought to the hardwood each night?
“You don’t,” Lake said. “She’s a one of a kind. You hope someone else comes up with that kind of ability. We have some young players that are pretty talented, we’ll just see how much they develop.”
The Seahawks enter the season with vacancies at the point guard, shooting guard and small forward position and Lake has a list of candidates applying for those jobs.
“The girls coming back that we have looking to fill those roles will be Roslyn Clark, Melvisha Dudley, Takeria Harris and Angelica Tisdale,” Lake said. “They should all be splitting time and we’ll see who develops the fastest. We’re really experimenting with a lot of different lineups right now trying to find a mix that works together.”
Without a proven No. 1 scoring option, the Seahawks will look to replace Hyman’s heroics with a balanced effort.
“When you have a great player like we did last year, sometimes when things broke down she would just takeover,” Lake said. “This year, I don’t see anyone being able to do that right now so we have to play as a unit.”
Helping Southside will be the fact that it returns players who have already learned what it takes to compete at a high level.
“That’s huge,” Lake said. “By having some girls back that have been there they can tell the others what it takes.”
Embracing the role of team leader is Purdue, a senior center who will be heavily relied on to not only score in the paint but to hold the team together.
“DeAndria Purdue is definitely, I think, the team leader,” Lake said. “All three seniors – Melvisha and Taylor are also stepping up – but if they had to choose just one DeAndria would be it. She’s very likeable person and a wonderful girl to be around and we will count on her a lot.”