Northside cruises, remains undefeated

Published 12:42 am Friday, December 19, 2014

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS STRONG FINISH: Edrice Adebayo picks the pocket of a Lawrence guard and starts a break.

STRONG FINISH: Edrice Adebayo picks the pocket of a Lawrence guard and starts a break.

PINETOWN — Lawrence’s 6-foot-6 duo of Nathaniel and Nicholas Horton was not enough to keep pace with Edrice Adebayo and the host Panthers on the first day of the Northside Holiday Tournament Thursday evening, as Northside cruised to an easy 74-43 win over the Warriors.

Due to a commanding double-digit lead, Adebayo was benched for most of the third quarter and all of the fourth, but was still able to pick up 23 points, six rebounds and five dunks, one in the form of a windmill.

Northside’s 6-foot-9 big man aside, head coach Mike Proctor’s four-guard set shot a high percentage from the field for most of the night, efficiently distributed the basketball and committed just a handful of turnovers.

“We came out focused and hit some shots. Anytime we hit jump shots, we’re pretty good because of Bam inside,” Proctor said.

One of those guards, a Pungo transfer who spends most of his time as the No. 4, is Dalton Etheridge, who not only recorded 16 points, but also came up with big rebounds in Adebayo’s absence.

“Dalton is a good player,” Proctor said. “He finally busted out of that shooting slump he’s been in. He played well and I thought Noel (Howson) played well, the first game back from his injury from football.”

Howson’s four assists and five points didn’t factor in to the big picture, but it’s a good sign for a team seeking a paint presence to compliment Adebayo. The Panthers’ quarterback suffered a leg injury in the final game of the football season and looked to be close to 100 percent Thursday night in limited playing time.

For Lawrence, Nicholas Horton has led the team to a 6-3 start in what should be a competitive, top-heavy Tarheel Independent Conference this season. But on Thursday, Horton seemed to be the only positive attribute for the Warriors offensively and defensively, finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Etheridge and Adebayo powered the Panthers to a 22-7 lead in the first quarter, catching Lawrence seemingly off guard. Outside of Nicholas Horton, the Warriors guards struggled to find the bottom of the next early.

In the second quarter, the onslaught continued. Adebayo slammed a trio of dunks and Patrick Moore, Etheridge, Greene Ikeem and Reggie Slade all contributed with baskets. Northside led comfortably, 41-16, at the half.

“(Lawrence) is good, but I just don’t think they’ve played in front of this many people and I don’t think they were ready, but they have a great team. That coach does a great job,” Proctor said.

In the second half, Proctor pulled most of his starters, while keeping Etheridge in the game for mostly defensive purposes. The Horton twins combined for 22 of the team’s final 27 points, but it was hardly enough to eclipse such a large lead.

Northside will host Washington on Saturday in the final game of the Holiday Tournament, while Lawrence will take on Southside at 5 p.m.