TOP-TIER OPPONENTS: Washington, Northside take on conferences’ best
Published 8:37 pm Thursday, January 28, 2016
Friday night will be a good one for Beaufort County basketball. Both Washington and Northside get another shot at their conference’s respective powerhouses. The Pam Pack travels to Farmville Central and the Panthers will host East Carteret.
The Jaguars top the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference and the Mariners share the top spot in the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference with Jones Senior. There is just a single loss between the two of them.
The Pam Pack and Jaguars last met three weeks ago in Washington. The homestanding Pack was riding a three-game win streak into the contest and hung with the league’s top team throughout before falling 90-78.
The difference came down to an offensive spurt by Farmville Central to end the first half. Michael Taylor dunked the ball three times in quick succession and Shaft Parker nailed a 3-pointer to give their team a 20-point edge heading into the break.
It was an explicit representation of the turnover problem that plagued them — a problem Pam Pack coach Steven Flowers knows can’t inundate his team’s play this time around. Taking care of the ball will be the key to the defense limiting transition opportunities and the offense making the most of its possessions.
“That was when the game got away from us,” Flowers said. “We turned the ball over a couple of times in a row and, not only did they score, it ignited them. …We’ve got to reduce turnovers. We’ve also got to box out better and not give up second-chance points and we’ve got to defend without fouling.”
One promising thing on offense was William Tate’s emergence in Washington’s recent win over North Johnston. He had 13 points and stood out as a scoring threat, along with Shaiquan Moore and Sharwan Staton.
“He’s been in a bit of a slump. He’s always been able to shoot 3s, but he hasn’t really hit them this year,” Flowers said. “Hopefully he can continue to do that.”
When Northside and East Carteret last met in Beaufort, it was the Mariners coming out with a lopsided 90-52 victory. The Panthers struggled out of the gate on both offense and defense. They managed to score 17 in the first quarter, but mustered just four points in the second. Meanwhile, the Mariners’ offense blew through Northside for 55 points in the first 16 minutes alone.
The Panthers will aim to be more competitive on the boards this time around. East Carteret hauled in 16 offensive rebounds last time, which produced a plethora of second-chance opportunities.
Things should be different this time around. Northside’s bigs have come a long way since their Jan. 4 meeting with East Carteret. Atia Shamseldin and Bryson Radcliffe have become a more integral part of the team on both offense and defense. The two have become perimeter-shooting threats on the wing. That confidence can be seen translating into a bit more aggression on the defensive end.
Radcliffe is liable to have an explosive outing after scoring 17 points at East Carteret a little over three weeks ago.
A win would give Northside a firm grasp on the No. 3 spot in the conference and make a mess of the entire upper third of the standings.
Washington is also fighting for a top-three spot in its league. The Pam Pack is 2-3 in EPC play. Beddingfield and North Pitt are dueling for the No. 2 spot behind Farmville Central, so a win would put Washington in that mix, too.