Proctor, Hubers named 2015 WDN Beaufort County Basketball Coaches of the Year
Published 3:10 pm Friday, March 27, 2015
Gifted with the unmatched ability of North Carolina’s top high school talent, head coach Mike Proctor always had the biggest gun in every battle this season, but by no means does that guarantee instant success, especially playing in the Coastal Plains Conference, one of the most competitive and talent-driven 1-A leagues in the state.
Coming off a 21-5 finish, expectations were high for junior Edrice Adebayo and the Panthers. Talk of not just a conference championship, but a state championship as well surrounded the Northside boys’ basketball team for nearly all of the three-month season. By many, those expectations were deemed reachable.
Once again, the Panthers ended with a 21-5 record, this time finishing in third place (8-4 CPC), but managed to piece together one of the most unlikely of playoff runs, carried by Adebayo and a supporting cast of speedy guards. For the second-straight season, however, the sharp-shooting East Carteret Mariners dampened Northside’s championship aspirations.
“We had an outstanding year,” Proctor said. “East Carteret has a great ball club and three of our five loses were to them and they won the state championship. I think we got better each time we played them. To get within five of them with three minutes to go at regionals, I think we made a good run.”
The furthest the team has gone in years, Northside, a 14 seed, knocked off No. 19-seeded Northampton County, No. 3-seeded Gates County, No. 6-seeded Riverside and, in the sectional final at Fayetteville’s Crown Arena, No. 2-seeded Voyager Academy, a team with a deep roster of potential Division I talent, including Jay Huff, a 6-foot-11 power forward.
Adebayo played to his potential, averaging around 35 points and 24 rebounds a game during the five-game run, while Proctor rallied others like Ikeem Greene, Jabari Ashe and senior Reggie Slade to play some of their best basketball of the year.
“Obviously Bam is the best player in the state, meaning he’s going to be the best player every night when he walks on the floor,” Proctor said. “We had to rely on him to lead us, but he had a lot of help.”
Northside will return three starters next season in Adebayo, Greene and Ashe, while losing shooting guard Dalton Etheridge and Slade to graduation.
For Proctor’s role in keeping his team composed and effective through the playoffs, he has been named the Washington Daily News Beaufort County Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year for a second-straight season.
In the conference tournament, the Terra Ceia girls’ basketball team was unable to piece together a Northside-like run, falling in Round 2 to Hobgood in overtime by one point, ending their season prematurely. But after finishing with a sub-par 9-14 record last season, the Knights flipped the script in 2015, piecing together it’s best record in years (15-10) and finishing second in the Tarheel Independent Conference, only behind Lawrence (17-7, 10-2 TIC).
The mark is notable, considering the Knights were without their primary floor leader for 11 games after senior Taylor Newman, a former second team All-County selection, suffered a broken nose in a matchup with Pope John Paul II on Dec. 12. It was, undoubtedly, a tough loss, but Hubers united the team and drove new leaders to step forward.
“We had a good season, even with the setback of losing our senior leader for a pretty good stretch with a broken nose,” Hubers said. “In a way, it was a blessing because other players really used that opportunity to step up and improve their game. That only helped us toward the end of the season and will help us next year too.”
One of those players who emerged from the Newman injury was Rebecca Harrison, a junior and 2015 first team All-County selection. In Newman’s absence, Harrison took over the role of floor leader and primary scorer, shattering expectations and finishing the season averaging 8.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. But her biggest contribution to the Knights may have been defensively, where she forced an average of 5.2 steals per game.
“Taylor was our point guard, our senior leader. It was a huge blow,” Hubers said. “You not only lose your playmaker, you lose a lot of points and senior leadership. In Taylor’s absence, Rebecca just really stepped up and found her game, kind of stepped out of the shadow a little bit. She played remarkably well and upped her point total, defensive pressure and showed she could handle the ball at point.”
Catherine Meijer was another Knight who rose to the occasion after Newman’s injury. The sophomore post, who averaged less than five points per game prior, upped her production and gave Terra Ceia a double-double per game after Dec. 12. A team losing their best player should be a crippling blow, but for Hubers and the battle-tested Knights, it was simply another piece of adversity they had to overcome.
And while the offense certainly improved since last season, Terra Ceia was a team known for its defense in the half court and on the perimeter, holding 14 opponents to under 40 points.
Newman returned on Jan. 23 against Lawrence and instead of forcing shots up or trying to do too much, she fit nicely into her new role as facilitator.
“I think we learned a lot as players and I as a coach learned a lot too,” Hubers said. “Of course, you replay those things in your mind and there are things I could of, should of done differently that might of made a difference in a one-point game in overtime. It’s a big loss losing four seniors, big contributors, so next year will be tough, but our young players will have to step up.”
For his role in turning the Terra Ceia program around, as well as coping with the adversity of losing his go-to point guard, Hubers has been named the Washington Daily News Beaufort County Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year.