Despite second quarter rally, Wildcats defeated at Southside

Published 3:16 pm Sunday, February 14, 2016

SPORTS_Seahawks soar into Pamlico County1_WEB

ABSORBING CONTACT: Pat Coffey bodies up a Columbia defender right at the rim. He was efficient in the paint with his passing and shooting and also knocked down a few 3s. (MICHAEL PRUNKA | DAILY NEWS)



Washington Daily News

CHOCOWINITY — Southside overcame foul troubles Wednesday evening to top Columbia, 71-52. The non-conference victory is the Seahawks’ third in a row and helps them build momentum ahead of traveling to Pamlico County on Friday.

The home side struggled to defend without fouling. Columbia found itself in the bonus early in the second quarter after Amar Spencer took contact en route to finishing a layup. Fortunately for the homestanding Seahawks, the Wildcats couldn’t convert at the free-throw line.

Thanks to that, Southside had a 35-27 lead at halftime. Columbia had plenty of opportunities at the charity stripe to close that gap and possibly take a lead into the intermission.

“We’re reaching. Our guys know they don’t need to reach when they’re driving,” Southside coach Sean White said. “That’s just something that’s a mental thing. We work on that in practice every day. … That’s one thing we’ve got to look at. Pamlico is not going to miss like that at the free throw line.”

Southside’s foul troubles started immediately. Josh Keyes was slapped with a technical foul for dunking during warm ups, allowing the Wildcats to bypass the traditional tip off and head right to the line. They made one of the two shots and got the ball to start the game.

Columbia scored its first four points via free throws. Keion Holloway scored the team’s first field goal — a layup that tied the game at 6-6.

Southside proceeded to go on a 9-0 run to take a 15-6 lead. Holloway — an excellent shot blocker for the Wildcats — would jump on Seahawk guards that attempted to penetrate. Southside quickly recognized that and made passes to the open forwards, which allowed Terry Moore to hit easy layups at the beginning and end of that run.

The presence in the paint helped open up long-range looks for Southside’s guards. Tamajza Dixon and Pat Coffey took advantage of it. Dixon kicked off the second quarter by sinking the Seahawks’ second 3-pointer of the game. Coffey added a trey of his own, pushing their lead to 27-14.

Columbia rallied before halftime. Holloway made a layup, Andre Brown dropped a 3 and the Wildcats added a few free throws for a quick 9-0 run to cut their deficit to 31-27.

“When they cut it to (four points), I called a timeout and basically tried to get them to refocus,” White said. “We maintained that halftime lead. I told them, ‘Let’s go out there and think of each quarter as a different game and win each quarter.’ If we win each quarter, we’ll be fine.”

Southside was relentless in the third after allowing Columbia to climb back in it. The Seahawks got three straight three-point plays late in the period. Johnny Sullivan and Donshae Tatum each knocked down 3s and John Bryant got an and-one layup to build a 20-point, 58-38 lead for the home team.

Fouling continued to be an issue even when Southside held a sizeable lead in the waning moments of the fourth. Columbia got a basket sandwiched between a couple of free throws, but it was too little too late.

Fouling notwithstanding, the Seahawks did a lot of things right on Wednesday. Pamlico County will undoubtedly be a better shooting team — especially from behind the arc. White and company are hoping they can carry over the positives to that meeting.

“A win is a win no matter who you’re playing, no matter the score,” White said. “This Columbia team is better than some of the ones we’ve played. That’s going to carry over to Friday night. If we can get a win on Friday, that’d be big for us moving up.”