Beaufort County teams entering conference play

Published 5:35 pm Monday, January 2, 2017

The crux of basketball conference competition begins this week for Washington, Northside and Southside. After relatively disappointing performances across the board last year, all six teams hope for strong showings in 2017.

Washington’s girls’ basketball team has emerged as the most talented group in the area. The team has a conference title in its sights, but a stout Farmville Central team and the defending 2-A state champion North Pitt stands in its way.

Improvement is the name of the game for most of the other teams in Beaufort County. Northside’s boys have the pieces to compete for a league title. Washington’s boys started the season slow, but a top-three finish isn’t too much of a stretch.

The 1-A Coastal Plains Conference seems to be a strong girls’ basketball conference this season. Southside could fight powerhouse Pamlico County and an emerging Lejeune team for a league title, but Northside may stumble as it is experiencing a bit of a rebuilding phase.

The bulk of conference games is ahead, making for interesting basketball. Here’s what’s ahead for the local teams.



The 2-A Eastern Plains Conference was top heavy last season. Farmville Central ran the table, going 28-0 (10-0 EPC) en route to a state championship. Behind the Jaguars were Beddingfield and North Pitt teams that both won over 70 percent of their games.

Southwest Edgecombe, Washington and North Johnston all finished well under .500, though. Things looked to have leveled out a bit going into this season’s conference stretch. Farmville Central graduated 10 players from last year’s championship team, and sits at 5-5 entering league play.

North Pitt only graduated three players, and two of its top-three scorers from a year ago returned this season. The Panthers seem to be the team to beat.

The Pam Pack, which can realistically finish somewhere in the middle and even as high as No. 3 in the league, gets to open at home with a lowly Southwest Edgecombe team. From there, though, it hits the road for its next three league games before returning to Washington to host North Pitt.

Naiya Windley goes up for a layup in a tournament game against South Central. The Lady Pack is off to an incredible start as conference play approaches.

Naiya Windley goes up for a layup in a tournament game against South Central. The Lady Pack is off to an incredible start as conference play approaches.


The 2-A Eastern Plains Conference also produced a championship in girls’ basketball last season. North Pitt went 30-1 en route to a state title. The Lady Pack took that Lady Panthers team down to the wire in the conference tournament last season.

The girls have looked even more formidable this season. They’ve already surpassed their win total from a year ago, but there’s still plenty of elite competition ahead.

At 12-0, North Pitt is off to an excellent start defending its championship. Farmville Central only has one loss on the season. North Johnston and Southwest Edgecombe each have two.

Washington starts league play today with Southwest Edgecombe. The Lady Cougars are similar to the Lady Pack in a lot of ways. Daria Jones will be tasked with checking Shayla Ellis, who is averaging a double-double (10.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game). Two other players are scoring in double figures on a nightly basis, too.

After its league opener against Southwest Edgecombe, Washington hits the road for three-straight conference games — the first of which is at Farmville Central.



Northside actually got its first taste of 1-A Coastal Plains Conference competition on Dec. 16 against Bear Grass. The Panthers edged the Bears, 59-58, to start 1-0 in league play.

The Panthers finished fifth in the CPC last year. They’ll look to climb the league’s ranks this season, but get the New Year started with typical powerhouse East Carteret. The Mariners went 12-0 in the conference last season, but sit at a modest 5-5 heading into tomorrow’s meeting.

Northside’s size should serve it well. Of its four players averaging at least 10 points a game, two are forwards. Bryson Radcliffe leads the team with 13 points per game, and Atia Shamseldin is scoring 11 per contest. Braeden Cooper and Johnathan Clark are also chipping in 12.1 and 10.8 points per contest, respectively. They’ll be important to keeping the Panthers afloat as they wait for the return of freshman guard Rashod Smith.

The Panthers remain home through the end of the week. They’ll host another strong conference foe in Pamlico County on Friday.



Like the boys, Northside’s girls got to kick off 1-A Coastal Plains Conference competition just before the Christmas layoff. The Lady Panthers decimated Bear Grass on Dec. 16, which was their last game.

Northside sits at .500 entering league play, but will look to pick things up. The Lady Panthers finished in the middle of the conference standings last season. Pamlico County went 12-0 a year ago to run away with the league title. East Carteret and Jones Senior also finished above .500 in the CPC.

The Lady Panthers kick off the New Year with games against all of those top-three teams from last year. The Lady Mariners, which visit Pinetown tomorrow, have most of last year’s squad back.

Pamlico County, however, lost its top-two scorers from last year’s 26-4 team. The Lady Hurricanes are off to a 9-2 start this season, but have less firepower.

Lejeune has emerged as a top contender in the CPC through non-conference action. The Lady Panthers will have time to find their bearings before their first meeting with the Lady Devil Pups on Jan. 25.



Southside is off to a slow start this season. A long football season gave the Seahawks little time to prepare for their season opener — a 92-64 decimation at the hands of Lejeune.

Southside went on to play twice more in quick succession. It lost its games against Washington and Northside in the Panthers’ holiday tournament. There’s still a lot of basketball to be played, but between the slow start and all it lost from last year’s group, the Seahawks have a steep hill to climb if they want to improve on last season’s fourth-place finish in the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference.

Southside travels to Pamlico County tomorrow. The younger Hurricanes provide a good chance for the Seahawks to start off 2017 on the right foot. Senior Cedric Coffey is the only Hurricane scoring in double figures, and the rest of the team is largely sophomores and juniors.

After that, Southside gets a sub-.500 Jones Senior team at home, then travels to a winless Bear Grass group. Momentum picked up now will be crucial, or Southside is in danger of finding itself in a hole early in the conference campaign.

Michaela Dixon takes on two South Creek defenders during a tournament game recently. Dixon and the Lady Seahawks are playing well as the thick of their 1-A Coastal Plains schedule closes in.

Michaela Dixon takes on two South Creek defenders during a tournament game recently. Dixon and the Lady Seahawks are playing well as the thick of their 1-A Coastal Plains schedule closes in.


After spending two seasons as a relatively young team, Southside is ready to take the next step. The Lady Seahawks stumbled out of the gate when they hosted a surging Lejeune team in their season opener, but have gathered plenty of steam since. They went 2-0 at the South Creek Holiday Tournament after Christmas, which included a 52-38 win over a good Southeast Halifax team.

Southside, which went 3-9 in the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference a year ago, doesn’t get a grace period to start the New Year. It travels to reigning league champion Pamlico County tomorrow, which is 9-2 on the season. From there, the Lady Seahawks return home to host Jones Senior, but play their next two league games on the road — the latter of which is against a 4-2 East Carteret club.

The Lady Seahawks have all the tools to finish among the CPC’s top teams, but it won’t be easy. The Lady Hurricanes and Lady Mariners are always strong, and Lejeune seems to have put together an impressive team, too.