Winds of change blowing for Pam Pack

Published 7:34 pm Thursday, December 29, 2016

Changes are coming for Washington’s basketball team.

The Pam Pack sits at 3-9 heading into its 2-A Eastern Plains Conference opener at home against Southwest Edgecombe on Tuesday. It has one hallmark win on the season — a 59-57 victory on Dec. 1 over a 3-A club in Northern Nash. It was Washington’s first win of the season.

Since then, though, the boys have only won a pair of games against local 1-A foes in Northside and Southside. They couldn’t get it done against future league opponents Greene Central or Ayden-Grifton.

The most recent loss saw the Pam Pack get handled by Terra Ceia in the Northside Holiday Tournament. When the team resumed practice this week, coach Steven Flowers went into it looking for players that would compete.

“We’ve been doing a lot of hustle drills,” he said. “I’m keeping stats. The guys that are hustling are the guys that are going to play. It gives us a little spirited competition now that they’re competing with each other trying to earn a spot.”

The intensity that comes with fighting for minutes during practice is something that the Pam Pack needs. Most losses this season have been a direct result of some kind of mid-game implosion, and that problem could be compounded by the long holiday layoff.

Sharwan Staton leads Washington’s transition offense. Staton is the team’s leading scorer and will be relied upon once conference play begins on Tuesday.

Sharwan Staton leads Washington’s transition offense. Staton is the team’s leading scorer and will be relied upon once conference play begins on Tuesday.

The hope is that more meaningful competition during practice will help Washington storm right out against the Cougars come Tuesday.

“We’ll have to see. That was one of the big issues going into the break. We didn’t play with a lot of intensity,” Flowers said. “We were flat coming out, disinterested. Hopefully this will change that.”

Things are changing schematically, too. The Pam Pack will be playing less zone and more man-to-man defense in the New Year.

“It’s hard to be flat and lackadaisical when you have to guard a man,” Flowers said.

Washington got back to practice on Monday. Flowers, who knew changes would be coming after the Dec. 20 loss to Terra Ceia, has been keeping his eyes open. He said Suae Poe has stood out to him during practice.

“I’m going to get him in the starting lineup,” he said. “I’m not sure where yet, but probably for Malik Bell.”

Bell’s 9.2 points per game is good for second best on the team.


Even though the first half of the season didn’t go well, there’s still plenty left to accomplish. Many of the players on the team also played football, so they know that. The Pam Pack football team went 0-6 in non-conference play, but had a playoff berth within reach because of their performance in the EPC.

“We’re going to emphasize that, and we’re going to use football as an example,” Flowers said. “We’ve played a tough schedule. The conference, I don’t think, is going to be as challenging as those — I call them — preseason games.

“Hopefully that got us ready. If we play with heart, we play with intensity, we should be fine.”

Southwest Edgecombe provides an excellent opportunity to get off to a hot start. The Cougars are 1-4 on the season. Their only win has come against a winless North Edgecombe team.