Panthers hold serve against Southside

Published 12:09 am Saturday, February 14, 2015

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS TIGHT FINISH: Southside point guard Donshae Miller elevates for a shot with 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The shot was one of only a few that did not fall, but Miller finished with 30 points and five assists in a losing effort.

TIGHT FINISH: Southside point guard Donshae Miller and Northside forward Edrice Adebayo battled it out Friday night in Pinetown. Miller finished with 30 points and five assists in a losing effort, while Adebayo scored 34 points and picked up 29 rebounds.

PINETOWN — Like two boxers sparring in the MGM Grand, Southside point guard Donshae Miller and Northside showman Edrice “Bam” Adebayo went punch for punch Friday night in another chapter of Beaufort County’s most well-known rivalry.

But despite a 30-point, five-assist effort from the Seahawks’ 5-foot-9 sharpshooter, it was a near flawless fourth-quarter performance from Adebayo that lifted the Panthers to a 78-73 victory over their cross-county nemesis in front of a packed house.

“I walked up to coach (Sean) White after the game and said, ‘Always.’ And he said, ‘Always,’ Northside head coach Mike Proctor explained. “It always comes out like this. It’s a big rivalry that never matters who is winning or losing, even though we’re both winning now. It’s always going to be a tough, hard-fought game with these two teams.”

With the No. 3 seed for next week’s the Coastal Plains Conference Tournament on the line, both teams entered heading in different directions — Northside having won four-straight games and Southside coming off a rough three-game stretch against Lejeune, Pamlico County and East Carteret.

Adebayo, who had scored 20-plus points in each of his last 11 games, was frustrated offensively and held scoreless in the first quarter, while his counterparts were forced to make up ground. And they did, as senior Dalton Etheridge and Greene Ikeem both hit from range, keeping the Panthers in the game.

However, Miller was the difference early, getting his teammates involved in the dribble-drive offense and hitting a series of shots in traffic.

“We just tried to pound it into Bam, but then I saw Donshae go down there and hit a floater, hit a three,” Proctor said. “He’s the one that scares me. He’s so explosive, even though he’s not scoring as much as he was last year. He can just go off and get 40 against you.”

Round 1 went to Miller and Southside, but an irritated Adebayo responded accordingly in the second quarter with 10 rebounds and nine points to supplement a combined 10 points from Reggie Slade, Ikeem and Adam Cahoon. The lead Southside opened up early gave them enough of a cushion to go into half time up 36-32.

The next 16 minutes followed a narrative that’s become all-too familiar every time these two teams share a court. While Northside was never able to obtain the lead in the third quarter, Southside capitalized off turnovers in transition, while Adebayo dominated in the paint. A combined 44 points from both teams knotted the score at 56 heading into the final quarter.

“We hit a few threes early and I don’t think we were looking for (Bam) as much as we should, but we hung around and when it came to crunch time, we started going into Bam,” Proctor said.

When it mattered most, White and Proctor put the ball into the hands of their playmakers — for Southside, that was Miller and Rashaun Moore, for Northside, Adebayo. In the end, the Panthers’ five-star prospect was the difference.

Adebayo corralled nearly every rebound, capitalized on second-chance opportunities and converted 8-of-10 free throws from the charity stripe. He finished with a game-high 34 points, 29 rebounds and two blocks.

“(Miller is) a good player, I’m a good player and we just both are scorers,” Adebayo said. “We pulled it out, played good defense and had a lock on Donshae in the end. We got us the win.”

“I’m just glad they’re still behind me in the end. Whenever I bring myself down, they’re always there to pick me up and help me.”

Ikeem also recorded a quiet 17 points and five assists in a winning effort.

With the victory, Northside finished the regular season 17-4 (8-4 CPC), while Southside ends their campaign with a 13-7 (7-5 CPC) record.