Seahawks advance

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Southside’s Byron Murray helped the Seahawks edge past Riverside 56-51 in the first round of the Four Rivers Conference tournament. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Southside’s Byron Murray (right) helped the Seahawks edge past Riverside 56-51 in the first round of the Four Rivers Conference tournament. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

CHOCOWINITY — Southside appears to be playing its best basketball at the right time as the Seahawks showed balance on offense and determination on defense during their 56-51 win over Riverside in the first round of the Four Rivers Conference tournament on Monday.
The No. 4 Seahawks (13-12, 8-7) trailed by 12 heading into halftime but came out of the break with a head full of steam as they outscored the No. 5 Knights (10-14, 7-8) 22-8 to propel themselves into tonight’s semifinal matchup with No. 1 Plymouth at 7 p.m. at South Creek High School.
“We’re elated right now,” Southside coach Sean White said. “It’s the first time we’ve made it out of the first round in my three years as the varsity coach.”
Riverside began the game on fire from beyond the arc as Jamal Whitehurst nailed two three-pointers in the first quarter to push his team up 15-12.
In the second, the Knights steadily pulled away as they were able to break through Southside’s press for quick buckets and took a 31-21 lead after a long jumper by Zrie Rogers with 1:27 left in the half. By the end of the second quarter the Knights found themselves up 33-21.
Whitehurst would head into intermission with 12 points, but would not score the rest of the game as he and his teammates cooled off in the second half.
“I’m disappointed,” Riverside coach Bobby Williams said. “We died by the jump shot … We were about one of 13 or 14 on threes in the second half.”
During the break White decided to adjust his press and in the third quarter it proved to be a pivotal move as the Seahawks got stingy on defense and quickly cut into Riverside’s lead.
“We changed our defense a little bit. We went to our 10 press, which is a three-quarter court press,” White said. “We had to back it up a little bit because (Riverside) was lobbing it over our 20 (fullcourt) press. A lob against a press, you’re supposed to be able to (steal) that and that’s what I told them at halftime.”
On the offensive end of the court, the Seahawks got big contributions from center Manuel Collins who tallied seven of his team-high 14 points in the third, while Aaron Jones, who was filling in for co-captain Kyle White who is recovering from knee surgery, played strong on both ends of the court.
The tandem teamed up to give Southside its first lead of the second half as Jones, after hitting his first throw, missed the second which was rebounded and put back by Collins to go ahead 42-41 with :10 remaining in the quarter.
The Knights, who where without several key players for various reasons, briefly reclaimed the lead early in the fourth when a Mario Moore basket made it 53-52. However, Southside would storm back and went ahead 52-47 after a Byron Murray fastbreak layup was followed by a Rokeem Miller transition bucket that forced Williams to call a timeout.
The Knights would continue to threaten, getting as close as 53-51 with :30 remaining, but could not get over the hump.
With the loss, Riverside must now regroup while it waits to find out its state playoff seeding.

Riverside    15    18    8    10    —    51
Southside    12    9    21    14    —    56
Knights (51)
Jamal Whitehurst 12, Zrie Rogers 10, Moore 8, Highsmith 7, Parker 2, Akeem Miller 12.
Seahawks (56)
Manuel Collins 14, Donshae Miller 11, Murray 6, Jones 9, Rokeem Miller 11, Moore 5.