Northside’s Adebayo named 2015 Daily News Athlete of the Year

Published 10:09 pm Friday, June 12, 2015



At 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, Northside’s Edrice Adebayo is the most feared basketball player in the state of North Carolina — what was once considered a bold assertion now widely accepted as fact. His resume proves it.

For opposing big men, he’s a matchup nightmare, the kind of player whose presence alone spawns pregame anxiousness. His newfound, guard-like mobility and ability to hit the outside shot have stretched his game to top of the high school food chain.

“It was just staying in the gym and working at it. (The desire) is something that comes with you,” Adebayo said. “I brought the energy. If guys were in practice, lollygagging and not taking it serious, I had to intensify-it up.”

Adebayo was instrumental in Northside’s 21-5 finish this season, providing 32.2 points, 21 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 4.5 blocks per game of production.

But even for the area’s top talent, the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference soon earned the reputation as one of the state’s best basketball tables. Pamlico County (16-9) was a gritty, defensive-minded squad, Southside (13-8) featured a dynamic guard duo in Donshae Miller and Rashaun Moore, Lejeune (5-17) had pure facilitator Jason Pullen and East Carteret (28-2), relying on its sharpshooting quartet of Jacque Brown, Sam Johnson, Trevor Willis and Ty Simmons, went on to win the 1-A state championship. When one of the top four teams shared a court, it was always bound to be a thriller.

Northside opened the season on the road against rival Washington, as fans from all over Beaufort County packed the gym to near capacity. For the Panthers’ go-to big man, it was a statement win. Adebayo scored 47 of the team’s 75 points, as Northside held off a late comeback, generated from Pam Pack guard John Whitley, and secured a 10-point victory.

From there, the team went on to win the next six games by double-digits. During the streak, Adebayo collected two more 40-point games.

Northside finished the season third in the conference, but the Panthers’ junior forward would make sure his presence was known come postseason. As a No. 14 seeded, the Panthers opened with a crushing 18-point victory over Northampton County before taking care of No. 3-seeded Gates County, 63-53, on the road. Adebayo’s biggest game came against a cohesive Riverside team in Round 3, where his 42 points and 26 rebounds were the difference in a 77-64 win. The Panthers were headed to Fayetteville for the first time in years.

“I’m used to experience because I’ve played on the big stage before, but my teammates really enjoyed it, staying in the hotel, staying up kind of late,” Adebayo said. “It was a good time for us.”

Against No. 2-seeded Voyager Academy in Round 4, Adebayo met his toughest high school matchup to date, the 6-foot-10 junior Jay Huff, a four-star recruit according to ESPN. After an early deficit, Adebayo put the team on his back, dropping 37 points. But his biggest contribution was on defense, where he held Huff to a season-low five points.

Northside would lose its eastern regional bout against conference foe East Carteret, but Adebayo finished the season as the state’s leading scorer and rebounder. He finished third in blocks.

Adebayo, a three-year letterman, currently sits at 1894 points, 1494 rebounds and 327 blocks for his career.




Southside’s Lawrence Brown was undoubtedly the top four-sport athlete in the county, competing in basketball, track, football and baseball. He had success in three of those sports, including taking home a track state championship in the 4-by-200-meter relay. For head coach Jeff Carrow, Brown was the Seahawks’ leading rusher with 1083 yards and 15 touchdowns on 151 carries. For the baseball team, Brown led his team in hitting with a .432 average, while also tallying nine RBIs, 18 runs and 19 stolen bases.



Standing at just 5-foot-9, senior Donshae Miller has been the face of the Southside basketball team for the last three years, providing head coach Sean White a team leader and a scoring threat. While his point-per-game average regressed from junior to senior year, he became more of an initiator, opening the door for shooting guard Rashaun Moore to becoming the primary offensive option. Miller averaged 16 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists in his final season for Southside. In football, contributing on both sides of the ball, Miller was one of Carrow’s standouts, even filling in at quarterback on occasion. He notched 54 total tackles, one sack and two interceptions, while picking up 752 yards and eight touchdowns on offense.



It’s impossible to forget what running back Markel Spencer gave the Pam Pack football team in 2014. He was the offense’s crutch, rushing for a career-high 2,152 yards and 27 touchdowns on 290 carries. Spencer carried Washington to the state championship last season for the first time since 1956 and was one of the team’s primary leaders, on and off the field.



Track and field may be the toughest sport to garner a state championship, but sprinter Tyriek Gaskins made it look easy. The senior captain took home state titles in the 4-by-200-meter relay and the 200-meter dash, leading Southside to a third-place finish in the 1-A state championships. In basketball, Gaskins was one of White’s senior role players, averaging seven points, 5.1 rebounds and one assist per game.