Southside downs Riverside, remains undefeated

Published 10:34 pm Thursday, December 11, 2014

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS TO THE RIM: Junior center Donshae Tatum challenges the Riverside bigs in the third quarter of Thursday’s win.

TO THE RIM: Junior center Donshae Tatum challenges the Riverside bigs in the third quarter of Thursday’s win.

WILLIAMSTON — Head coach Sean White and the Seahawks entered the season with one thing on their mind — a conference championship. Wishful thinking considering the Coastal Plains Conference features some of the best 1-A teams in eastern North Carolina, but so far, a quicker, more agile Southside squad is ignoring the doubters and playing smart basketball.

“We had high hopes coming in,” White said. “We have a tough conference with Northside, Pamlico and East Carteret, but I feel like we can play with anybody this year.”

While conference play doesn’t start until the new year, Southside came through with a statement road win Thursday evening in Williamston, locking up a 56-49 win against a Riverside team with a clear height advantage.

The Seahawks were driven by a deep arsenal of guards that limited costly turnovers and remained consistent following a troublesome first quarter. Senior Donshae Miller, the team’s unattested floor leader and last season’s leading scorer at a 19 point per game clip, struggled from the field early on, but managed to find teammates in transition and had a productive second half, finishing with 13 points. Junior Rashaun Moore, who led all scorers with 25 points and came through with crucial rebounds down the stretch, kept Southside in the game and helped preserved a fragile second half lead.

“All of my starters are seniors, they’re veteran players,” White said. “I have Donshae who has been playing since he was a sophomore, so he has a lot of experience. Rashaun is the clean up man for me. It seems like every time someone goes up on a fast break and misses, he’s there to put it back in. We’re quicker than we were last year and I think we’re a little bit deeper as far as speed goes too.”

On the back of forward Markel Freeman and tight defensive play, Riverside powered its way to a 14-4 lead in the first quarter. The Knights outrebounded Southside, 13-4, through the first eight minutes, but would struggle from the field in the final three quarters.

Moore caught fire in the second quarter, going a perfect 3-for-3 from the line to go along with a pair of layups, and gave Donshae Tatum some help down low. At the half, Riverside’s led 26-22.

“Our zone has been our bread and butter,” White said. “I don’t think we’ve done anything else this year so far. We’ve packed it in and have a decent back line on that zone with Tatum in the middle. We work on rebounding every day in practice and I think that helped out a lot tonight.”

Southside maintained the momentum into the second half with lights out defensive play. As Donshae Miller began to hit shots and Moore remained consistent, the defense forced turnovers and held the Knights to just two buckets in the third quarter.

With 12 fourth-quarter points from Moore, the Seahawks preserved the lead and walked away with the road victory.

For Riverside, Jordan Spruill led his team with 12 points, while Freeman finished with 11 points and 14 boards.

Southside will rematch Riverside on Monday in Chocowinity before heading to Robersonville on Tuesday to take on South Creek.