Northside rolls in first round of conference tournament

Published 10:36 am Wednesday, February 19, 2014




In their first year competing in a top-heavy Class 1A conference, winless Bear Grass was faced with a tough task Tuesday night, matched up against Northside in the first round of the 1A Conference 11 tournament.

The mismatched, undersized Bears laid it all on the line against the athletically superior Panthers, but failed to keep pace with Edrice Adebayo, Antonio Woods and the speedy Northside guards. Northside would win easily, 77-29, but head coach Michael Proctor was hardly pleased with the effort his team exhibited during the first quarter of play, pulling his entire starting lineup just minutes into the game.

“I didn’t think we played very well at all in the first quarter. That’s why I pulled [the starters] because I didn’t think they came out with intensity. I know Bear Grass is real young and just starting up, but we have to worry about us, and we didn’t come out with any intensity. I was real upset with the way we started.”

His players received the message and responded accordingly. Senior guards Jaquan Sessoms and Malik Slade elevated the pace and raised the intensity in the second quarter. The result was open looks on the perimeter and emphatic, completely uncontested dunks from Adebayo down low.

A 23-point second quarter put the Panthers up 43-17 at the half, giving Proctor the flexibility to cycle-in a few of underclassmen.

Even with the reserves, the Panthers held the Bears to just 13 points in the second half. Adebayo had another noteworthy evening, finishing with a game-high 29 points, while Woods ended with 10.

With the win, Northside advances to the semi-finals of the conference tournament, where they will rematch against Pamlico County Thursday in Bayboro.

“I think we can make a good hard run,” Proctor said. “I’m not going to say we can win it, but we have a pretty good team and if we defend hard, get some outside shooting, I feel like we can make a run.”

A win against Pamlico County will likely mean a rematch in the finals on Friday against the top team in the conference and Class 1A, East Carteret.