Panthers get revenge in 2OT win over Pamlico County

Published 11:56 pm Monday, February 2, 2015

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS TOP PERFORMER: Northside’s Edrice Adebayo elevates for a layup in regulation of Monday night’s win over Pamlico County. He finished with 42 points, 24 rebounds and six blocks.

TOP PERFORMER: Northside’s Edrice Adebayo elevates for a layup in regulation of Monday night’s win over Pamlico County. He finished with 42 points, 24 rebounds and six blocks.

PINETOWN — The Panthers settled a score with an old Coastal Plains Conference rival Monday night, scratching and clawing their way to a thrilling 96-89, double-overtime win over Pamlico County.

Physicality emanated from the court over the course of 40 minutes, while two of the conference’s top talents, Northside’s Edrice “Bam” Adebayo and Pamlico County’s Josiah Simmons, did whatever they could to keep their team in the game. When the final buzzer sounded, both players had their fair share of battle scars — scratches spread down Adebayo’s arm and an ugly black eye on Simmons’ face, one that would keep him on the bench for both overtime periods.

The bad blood stemmed from a 57-43 loss on Jan. 7, where Northside left Bayboro bruised and battered — a scraped up Adebayo recording a season-low 18 points. It’s a matchup that pits one of the conference’s top scoring offenses versus a gritty defense, one that relies on the Panther backcourt’s ability to hit shots to support its big man. On Jan. 7, it was all on Adebayo. Monday night was a different story.

After a relatively quiet regulation, notching just eight points, Greene Ikeem dug deep, shelved his role as distributor and borrowed the protagonist label from his five-star counterpart.

“Ikeem played really well the whole game; he just didn’t make shots early, but he played really well,” said head coach Mike Proctor after the game. “’Bam’ is by far, obviously, the best player, but Ikeem controls the tempo of the offense. He’s coming into his own and played a great game for us. He hit clutch shots, made key free throws and made a three when they were doubling Bam hard.”

A late fourth-quarter comeback from Pamlico County, spurred by a pair of contested three pointers from Daquan Dudley and Tyler Ellenberg, knotted the game at 76, forcing overtime. Ikeem had an immediate impact in extra time, breaking the Hurricane’s full-court press and finding Adebayo on a series of outlet passes. But the opposition had clearly learned from regulation and doubled, at times tripled Adebayo in the paint. The defensive strategy, one head coach Earl Sadler Jr. employed in the first meeting, placed the burden on the Panthers’ guards to hit open looks.

Twice in the first overtime period, Ikeem received a bailout pass from Adebayo and drove the lane, drawing a foul. His 4-for-4 mark at the line was enough to deny Pamlico County of the lead and force another overtime.

In the second overtime, Ikeem hit just 2-of-4 free throws, but made up for it with two hard-earned layups and a big three-pointer that turned the tide.

On the back of its shooters, Pamlico County was able to fight back in the fourth quarter and again in overtime. However, an elbow to Simmons’ face in the fourth ended his night, while Sadler’s second offensive producer, Cameron Moore, fouled out in the first overtime period and Daquan Dudley, who had supplied support from range throughout the night, fouled out in the second overtime period.

With three of the team’s top-four offensive options out of the game, baskets by Ikeem, Adebayo and Dalton Etheridge finally brought it back to a two-possession game, ending the Hurricanes’ night.

Adebayo finished with a game-high 42 points, 24 rebounds and six blocks. It was the most points he’s scored in a game since the season opener at Washington. Ikeem notched 21 points, 13 of which were in overtime — the difference down the stretch. Reggie Slade also finished with a quiet 14 points.

“It was a physical game. They say ‘Bam’ is physical, well I say they’re physical. It was just a physical basketball game,” Proctor said.

“I think every time he walks on the court he’s the best player, everybody knows that. He just willed us to win tonight. He rebounded, started blocking shots defensively. He just said with his play, we are not losing this ballgame. He’s the one who helped us get that ‘W.’”

For Pamlico County, Simmons recorded a team-high 33 points, while Moore notched 20 points and eight boards.

With the win, Northside improves to 13-4 (4-4 CPC) and will face Bear Grass in Williamston on Wednesday.

“This will give us a chance to get pushed up in the conference,” Proctor said. “If we can take care of the next four, then that would bump us up and keep us in the race for the second or third spot. We just need to take it one game at a time.”