Pamlico drops Southside

Published 10:31 pm Monday, February 9, 2015

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS D-UP: Pamlico County forward Josiah Simmons drives the lane against Southside’s Donshae Miller. Simmons finished with a team-high 18 points.

D-UP: Pamlico County forward Josiah Simmons drives the lane against Southside’s Donshae Miller. Simmons finished with a team-high 18 points.

CHOCOWINITY — Pamlico County boosted its Coastal Plains Conference standing and spoiled Southside’s Senior Night on the road Monday with a crucial 77-65 win over the Seahawks.

Entering in sole possession of second place, the loss serves as a crippling blow to a Southside team facing a daunting final week of the regular season with East Carteret on deck for Wednesday and rival Northside on Friday, both games on the road. For Pamlico County, the win places the Hurricanes in the driver’s seat, their final two games being two manageable matchups in Bayboro against Lejeune and Bear Grass.

“We could either stay where we’re at tied, have second outright or drop all the way to fourth,” said head coach Sean White. “We have to play better than we did against the quality opponents we have coming up. We have to go to hostile places later in the week.”

After keeping pace with East Carteret down to the final quarter last week, the Hurricanes starters broke down Southside’s man defense early with an efficient balance of perimeter shooting and dribble penetration. Coming off a 29-point game against the Mariners, shooting guard Daquan Dudley picked up right where he left off, scoring 11 of the Hurricanes’ first 18 points and finding center Treviann Ollison in the paint.

Senior Rashaun Moore, the Seahawks’ offensive leader this season at a 21 point per game clip, was effective early in the dribble-drive offense and matched Dudley and the visiting guards on the perimeter. A buzzer-beating floater off the bench by Johnny Sullivan gave Southside a slight two-point advantage after eight minutes, but soon enough, the same flaws that plagued the Seahawks in their narrow two-point win over Lejeune last week would resurface.

“We played man a little bit more than we have and it seemed to be working in the first quarter,” White said. “We went back to our zone after they started hitting the threes off the screens, but the zone didn’t seem to help because we weren’t covering them. It was just a lack of execution on our part tonight.”

The defensive adjustment also unlocked Pamlico County’s go-to scoring option, Josiah Simmons, who was silenced early. Once he found space in transition, the Hurricanes ceased settling for outside jumpers and challenged center Donshae Tatum and Phillip Smith in the paint. While the Hurricanes soon began driving and scoring with ease, Moore was nearly shutdown offensively, forcing Donshae Miller to pick up the slack. Pamlico County held a 35-29 lead at the half.

The Hurricanes limited turnovers and expanded upon their lead in the second half, as Simmons continued to work his way to the line and Jawan Coffey, who had just three first-half points, suddenly became a factor. Despite a few missed free throws, Pamlico County played near flawless basketball down the stretch, outscoring and outrebounding the Seahawks.

All five Hurricanes starters finished in double figures with Simmons leading the way with 18 points and Dudley following with 17. They improve to 13-8 (7-3 CPC) and are now tied with Southside.

Moore led his team with 19 points, while Miller finished with 17 points and seven boards. White was displeased with his team’s inability to manage the clock in the final quarter.

“You can’t let time run off that late in the game and not foul,” he said. “I called a timeout when we cut it down to 10 and tried to get them to realize we lengthen this game by stopping the clock. When you let 40 seconds go off the clock and they score an easy layup … we didn’t execute on defense.”