Surprise Seahawks prepare for tough final week

Published 1:16 pm Friday, February 6, 2015

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS BOUNCE BACK: Donshae Miller, Rashaun Moore and the Seahawks survived a scare against Lejeune on Wednesday and the road only gets tougher.

BOUNCE BACK: Donshae Miller, Rashaun Moore and the Seahawks survived a scare against Lejeune on Wednesday and the road only gets tougher.

CHOCOWINITY — Reliant on consistent guard play and obedience to a system, the Seahawks barreled their way through one of the toughest conferences is 1-A, earning the respect of the perennial top finishers.

Entering the final week of the 2014-2015 regular season with a 13-4 record and a second-place standing in the Coastal Plains Conference, head coach Sean White is preparing his team for the toughest task to date, maybe even in the entire 15-year history of the program. In span of five days, Southside will face a top defense, the defending state runner-up and CPC champion, and one of the most highly scouted prospects in the country. The daunting stretch of games will likely make holding high-intensity practices during the week impossible, so the Seahawks are taking the next few days to prepare.

“As far as play wise, there’s some stuff we need to work on,” White said. “We have a couple of days now before we enter that stretch to work on and fine tune a few things. Pamlico is going to be a big game on Monday night, Senior Night. Being that we only have one day of preparation for East Carteret and one day for Northside, we’re going to put everything we’ve got into the next couple of days to be ready for Pamlico.”

And even with an already impressive resume, a solid outing this week could place Southside in prime position to make a run in the playoffs. Two wins will lock up second place and a high playoff seed, keeping them on the opposite side of the bracket, far away, from East Carteret, the defending state runner-up who has returned nearly all of its top playmakers from last season.

But in order to make a run next week, the Seahawks will have to put the offensive travesty that was the Wednesday night’s game behind them. Against four-win Lejeune, White saw his team surrender a 14-point half time lead and give up 39 points through the final eight minutes. If not for a pair of clutch late free throws with 8.6 seconds left on the clock by point guard Donshae Miller, Southside would have suffered a crippling conference loss, one that would have set the team back months. Fortunately, the 55-53 victory keeps the Seahawks in the race for a top-two finish.

“We’re in great position moving forward,” White said. “If we can come out on Monday night that will put us in the drivers seat for second place and that’s what we want — to be able to host a couple of games at home. And also to not be in the same bracket as East Carteret.”

On Monday, Southside squares off against its conference rival located 30 miles down Highway 33, Pamlico County (12-7, 6-2 CPC). The Hurricanes, winners of four of their last five games, are led by their dynamic junior power forward, Josiah Simmons, who is averaging 15 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. But he’s not the only scoring threat on head coach Earl Sadler Jr.’s roster.

Daquan Dudley, Jawan Coffey and senior Cameron Moore are all averaging double-digit scoring and have provided hard-hitting defense throughout the season. For Southside, it’s not a matter of simply shutting a single player down, but containing and disrupting what’s sure to be a methodical offensive flow.

In the first matchup between these two sides in Bayboro, Southside nearly pulled of a fourth-quarter comeback for the ages, recording 30 points in the final eight minutes of play after being down double figures. The Seahawks fell, 74-69. Now, White is doing all he can to make sure a nearly insurmountable deficit doesn’t happen again.

“We’ve looked at that film, we know what we did wrong and why they got the big lead that they did,” he said. “We need to run our offense better than we did (against Lejeune), especially against (Pamlico). They’re going to run a 1-3-1 zone against us; they’re going to run man. It’s going to be a whole lot better defense than last time.”

After Pamlico County, Southside will travel to Beaufort to take on powerhouse East Carteret (18-2, 8-0 CPC), a team that crushed the Seahawks in the first matchup. Then, on Friday, the Seahawks will resume their rivalry with Northside (14-4, 5-4 CPC) in a game that should carry serious conference implications.