Grading Out: Northside highlights week with 3-0 start

Published 6:29 pm Sunday, December 3, 2017

Northside made not one statement, but three when it began the season with three wins in three days. The Panthers did so in convincing fashion, too. They hammered Washington twice and cruised past Mattamuskeet.

While the boys are still searching for their first win, the Lady Pack swept its two encounters with Northside to level its record at 3-3.

Washington wrestling — ranked preseason No. 1 in the east — is garnering even more attention as it remained undefeated heading into Saturday’s Pierce Davis Tournament at North Pitt.

Elsewhere, Southside basketball got its season rolling at Bear Grass on Friday. The Lady Seahawks looked strong out of the gate in a 44-12 thumping of the Lady Bears.

Here are this week’s standouts:



Rashod Smith has dazzled through three games this season. As impressive as his raw talent is his ability to make each Northside player on the floor better. The Panther sophomore notched a double-double (23 points, 12 assists) in an 81-47 win at Washington on Wednesday.

Smith (21 points) didn’t lead the Panthers in scoring in Friday’s home-opening win over Washington, but his playmaking allowed Johnathan Clark to do so. The two linked up for an alley-oop at Washington on Wednesday. Then, at home, they capped off a fastbreak when Smith set up Clark for a layup with a pass off the backboard.



Johnathan Clark feeds off of Rashod Smith, and Smith feeds off of Clark. The two displayed chemistry in their first week of the season that many would struggle to build by the end of a campaign. Clark was strong driving the lane and shooting from the perimeter on Friday as he scored a game-high 26 points.

It might not have looked like it would be Clark’s night when he miffed a dunk on the opening possession of Friday’s game, but he and Smith proved to be a non-stop highlight reel all evening.



Washington coach Ralph Biggs knows what he’s going to get when the likes of Daria Jones, Cierra Wiggins, Tierra Wiggins and Kizoria Redmond are on the floor. The Lady Pack offense thrives in transition.

Destiny Cobb proved in two wins over Northside that she can spread the floor a bit, too. She enjoyed modest success shooting the ball from different areas in the two games.



Northside coach Michelle Leathers always seems to have a somewhat young team. The Lady Panthers have four seniors leading this year’s group, but have been getting early contributions from younger players.

Ke’Shayla Arthur was the driving force in Northside coming as close as six points when it hosted Washington on Friday. It was an uphill battle after the Lady Pack built a 15-3 lead in eight minutes. Arthur went to work in the post by scoring six points to fuel a 10-2 run that brought Northside as close as 19-13.



Southside is young this season, but its three seniors — Symone Ruffin, Michaela Dixon and Danielle Ruffin — are talented and have experience playing together. They got off to a hot start Friday when they went to Bear Grass and coasted to a 44-12 win.

Ruffin led the Lady Seahawks with 17 points in the win. Dixon, the team’s inside presence, had 14. The game marks the first step in Ruffin building on a stellar junior campaign that saw her lead Southside with 12.9 points per game.