Knights beat tournament host Northside

Published 12:59 am Tuesday, December 20, 2016

PINETOWN — When Northside and Terra Ceia last met 366 days ago in last year’s Northside Holiday Tournament, it was the Panthers that squeaked out the 65-64 victory in an instant classic.

This time around, the Knights were able to upset their hosts, 73-60, in a relatively one-sided contest. They used their unique brand of fast basketball that relies on an incredible amount of team chemistry.

“It’s just sharing the basketball. We had four tonight in double figures,” Terra Ceia coach Roger Klaassen said. Shaiquan Moore led the team with 22 points. Messiah Barnes (16), Tyler Hendrix (15) and Darius Blackledge (10) all had at least 10 points, too. “Get the ball to the open man — that’s what we preach.”

Eighteen of Terra Ceia’s 30 made field goals were assisted on.

The early stages of the game looked a lot like last year’s meeting. They traded shots briefly before the Knights unleashed a 12-0 run to take a 14-4 lead. Blackledge and Moore got baskets at point-blank range. Hendrix hit a mid-range jumper, and Quentin Van Essendelft sank a 3-pointer to help spread the floor.

Northside coach Mike Proctor called a timeout in the middle of the run. Parker Boyd was able to haul in a rebound and put it back up to stop the run, but the Panthers faced a 19-6 deficit after eight minutes.

“I told them we were forcing things and doing too much. I thought we had a couple of players that were trying to do too much, offensively, instead of trying to move the ball around a bit,” Proctor said.

Parker Boyd tries some fancy footwork to find some open space. He was able to make baskets from all parts of the floor.

Parker Boyd tries some fancy footwork to find some open space. He was able to make baskets from all parts of the floor.

Northside was without guard Roshod Smith, which set them back on both ends of the court.

“It hurts us a lot because he’s our best ball handler, he’s our best on-ball defender and he’s a quarterback on the floor,” Proctor said.

The Panthers got the ball inside and let their size work for them. They trimmed Terra Ceia’s lead to as few as seven points in the second, but the Knights got another string of uninterrupted baskets to regain a sizeable advantage. Austin Roscoe’s lone trey got it going, and Moore punctuated it with a 3-point play of his own.

Northside put together a 6-0 spurt as the half came to a close, but went into the intermission down 37-26.

Atia Shamseldin aided the Panthers in their paint dominance by scoring his team’s first three buckets of the third. Northside was able to make it a two-possession game, 49-43, but never came any closer to tying the game.

“We’re lacking some overall strength underneath, but we find the openings,” Klaassen said. “When a guy penetrates, we’re going look to dish off on the bottom blocks. They’re there. It’s about knowing where your players are going to be and getting them the basketball.

“I felt, at times, they owned us underneath. We struggled on the defensive end controlling their big kids inside. They’re good. We have not played a team … as strong as these guys.”

Terra Ceia got flashy as it shut the door on Northside. Barnes, who had five assists in the game, lobbed a pass to Hendrix, who grabbed it midair and put it away with a layup. He then connected with Blackledge on a behind the back pass in transition.

The atmosphere was electric. The Knights faithful matched a large contingent of home fans.

“It’s awesome. I told these guys before, ‘Win or lose, enjoy this opportunity to play in this atmosphere,” Klaassen said. “It’s fun. There’s a big crowd with hometown teams playing. … It feels mighty good. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve taken our share of lumps in this gym. It’s nice to walk away with a victory for once.”

Terra Ceia plays Washington in the first-place game in Tuesday’s main event. Northside takes on Southside for third place.