Showing heart: Washington shows fire in comeback win

Published 10:03 pm Friday, December 11, 2015

MICHAEL PRUNKA | DAILY NEWS GENTLE TOUCH: Tyshawn Cobb, guarded by Atia Shamseldin, smoothly rolls the ball off his fingertips and into the basket during Friday’s win over Northside.

GENTLE TOUCH: Tyshawn Cobb, guarded by Atia Shamseldin, smoothly rolls the ball off his fingertips and into the basket during Friday’s win over Northside.

Washington coach Steven Flowers had an interesting conversation with his team at halftime of Friday’s game. The Pam Pack left the court for the locker rooms, trailing visiting rival Northside 27-18. All but nine of the Panthers’ first-half points came at the rim, including Bryson Radcliffe’s fast-break layup in the final moments of the second.

“I questioned their heart at halftime,” Flowers said. “I said, ‘You guys, you’re not showing any heart at all.’ They looked beat at halftime. They reached down and found it.”

Defensive adjustments in the second half helped Washington stop Northside from getting inside whenever it wanted. The Panthers got forced to take more mid-range shots, but they weren’t dropping.

“We got in the zone. They were breaking us down,” Flowers said. “(Ikeem Greene) was breaking us down and beating us up high. Then the help has to come and when the help comes, it’s just bounce pass and layup. So we had to get in the zone … They can shoot, they just didn’t hit them tonight.”

Northside coach Michael Proctor added, “We’ve got some pretty good shooters usually. They just didn’t fall in the second half … We’ve got a couple of seniors and they just didn’t hit those shots. I guess that’s just the way it goes sometimes. I don’t really expect them to knock down the shots all the time in a game like this — a high intensity, rivalry game. They just didn’t fall.”

Holding the Panthers off the board opened the door for the Pam Pack to chip away at their deficit. Northside center Atia Shamseldin made a baseline jumper that put his side up 33-24, but it was the last field goal they’d make in the third quarter.

Washington proceeded to go on a 16-1 through the rest of the period. The turning point was when Moore got a put-back layup to go up 34-33. Not to be outclassed, Staton followed up with a snazzy layup of his own that brought the crowd to its feet.

“That’s huge. When you hit a shot and the crowd goes wild, you want to hit another one,” Flowers said. “We build off of that. Every team does. Once we got the lead, we knew we could do it.”

The buzzer-beater shot at the end of the third was a little rushed, so Brandon Jackson had time to haul in the rebound and put it back to give Washington a 40-34 edge heading into the final quarter.

A 3 pointer in the fourth brought Northside within two, 42-40. The Pam Pack responded quickly when Suae Poe dished it down to Kaleb Spencer at the rim, who put it in. Tyshawn Cobb rolled the ball off his fingers and into the basket shortly thereafter to make it 46-40.

A couple of layups and a trey from Poe was enough to secure Washington’s second win over the Panthers.

Greene had the Pam Pack backed against the wall early on. He scored eight of Northside’s 16 points in the first, and did so while spreading the court for his teammates. He got four driving to the basket and hit one from behind the arc, too.

Washington scored nine unanswered points early in the second to cut Northside’s lead to 18-16. The Panthers answered with a run of their own by scoring seven in a row.

“The big thing was we wanted to make the extra pass (in the second half),” Proctor said. “I didn’t think we were doing that quite enough. Defensively, the No. 1 thing we tried to do was to keep them from penetrating and keep them off the glass. We need to become a better defensive rebounding team.”

Washington will look to keep building momentum at Ayden-Grifton on Wednesday. Northside will hope to rebound at Bear Grass on Tuesday.