Grading Out: Athletes excelling as Christmas tournaments close in

Published 1:29 pm Monday, December 18, 2017

The conference portion of winter sports is in full swing. Northside was the first to foray into league play, while Washington and Southside followed suit this past week. Washington wrestling began its quest to dominate the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference just like it did its former league.

Now, with the Christmas break upcoming, local basketball teams set their sights on fighting for bragging rights in local tournaments. Northside will host Washington and Southside, in addition to Plymouth, for its annual festivities. The Lady Pack will travel out to South Central. The Lady Seahawks will play in South Creek’s tournament.

Here are the standouts from the past week:



Southside is finding a rhythm early on. That’s thanks to its three seniors. Symone Ruffin’s ability to create plays and finish them helped the Lady Seahawks to a 2-0 week.

Ruffin dropped 22 points — second only to Michaela Dixon’s 23 — in a win over Columbia. Then, on Friday, she helped lead the Lady Seahawks to an overtime win at Jones Senior. She poured in a team-best 28 points in the 63-53 victory. Southside now looks forward to South Creek’s tournament, which starts after Christmas.



Washington senior Tierra Wiggins had to battle back from a concussion to help out her team for a stretch of three games in three days. She’s still trying to get back to 100 percent, according to coach Ralph Biggs, but was instrumental to the Lady Pack starting 2-0 in conference play.

When Washington returned home on Wednesday, it was apparent how much more fluid the team played with Wiggins on the court. She had a spurt of six unanswered points, which included a 3-pointer, to take the lead in the first quarter. Washington never trailed after that.



After dropping its 1-A Coastal Plains Conference opener at Riverside the week before, Brooklyn Hudnell helped Northside level its league record at 1-1 as part of a 2-0 week for the Lady Panthers.

Hudnell had 29 points to spearhead a 44-42 win over South Creek on Friday. Her offensive production has helped curb the loss of point guard Gabby Slade. Abby Mooring and Ke’shayla Arthur had strong performances, too. Northside’s next conference outing will be Jan. 2 when it hosts Tarboro.



What a week it was for Washington wrestling. The Pam Pack, for the first time ever, won Croatan’s Beast of the East tournament last week, and did so in convincing fashion. Then, on Tuesday, it cruised past Greene Central, South Lenoir and West Craven to set the bar for the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference.

Of course, that kind of success is a team effort. Many of Washington’s wrestlers have stood out this season. Few have been as dominant as Drew Ferguson. He was the lone Pam Pack representative to finish first in his weight class at Croatan. Then, the 182-pound senior pinned all three of his conference opponents on Tuesday.



Another week means more stellar performances for Northside sophomore Rashod Smith. The Panthers’ trip to Plymouth ended up getting postponed, so all the had left on the slate was a home contest against South Creek.

Smith posted a double-double in a 70-31 win to level Northside’s conference record at 1-1. He helped facilitate standout games from Johnathan Clark and Braeden Cooper. Northside goes into this week’s tournament as an odds-on favorite.