Pam Pack thumps Southside for first win

Published 12:34 am Thursday, December 21, 2017

PINETOWN — There was an air of confidence when Washington took a 38-21 lead over Southside into the locker room. It was a familiar feeling for a Pam Pack team that was still looking for its first win in 12 tries.

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Washington had looked good for stretches in past games this season, so it knew that it wasn’t out of the woods with a 17-point lead halfway through Wednesday’s third-place game in the Northside Holiday Tournament. But the Pam Pack kept up the pressure, and its leaders provided the offense to beat the Seahawks, 69-47, for the team’s first win of the year.

“It’s a big weight off our shoulders. I feel happy for the guys,” coach Ralph Biggs said. “Now they can relax a little bit and play a little pressure free.

“(At halftime) I said, ‘Let’s be a little more mentally disciplined and finish this thing out.’ We came out strong in the third quarter. It helps that it was Southside, right down the street, and they wanted to get the win.”

Washington had built a double-digit lead by the second quarter. It took advantage of a Southside team that struggled to keep up with the pace of the game. Ja’quez Ruffin jumped out in transition for a pair of layups that fuelled a 9-0 spurt before halftime. Dreylon Brooks slammed down a dunk, and Tyler Harrell knocked down a 3-pointer to push the Pam Pack’s advantage to 38-18.

The Washington fans that made the trek to Pinetown roared in approval. They had been waiting for a win as anxiously as the players and coaches had. Biggs said after Monday’s loss to Plymouth that the fans have been in their corner all season long, but that the team needed to incorporate that energy into its play.

“I’m glad we gave them a treat with some dunks and a win,” Biggs said.

Washington kept rolling in the second half. Tayevon Blackledge got things going with a second-chance basket. Brooks pushed the lead to over 20 again when he stole an inbound pass and put in the layup.

Southside stayed afloat thanks to some sharpshooting from Jaleel Coffey and Will Warren. Both hit 3s in the third quarter. The Seahawks’ defense couldn’t do enough to keep Washington from matching them tit-for-tat, though.

Southside guard Demetrius Ebron darts down the court on a fast break.

“It’s the same thing from Monday night. We’re better than what we’ve looked like,” Southside coach Sean White said. “I think we’ve got to learn to play team basketball.”

Isaiah Blanch and Harrell matched Southside’s perimeter shooting with treys of their own in the fourth. Ruffin led Washington with 14 points. Tyshawn Roberson and Brooks each added eight.

Washington gets to celebrate its first win, but will have time to cool off before returning to action on Jan. 2 at South Lenoir.

“I think it’s good. We’ll have some practice time,” Biggs said. “We’re kind of changing what we’re doing. I’m changing my approach, and we need the practice time to implement it and get it better.”

Southside, meanwhile, has dropped its last three in a row. It will look forward to playing its first home game when it hosts Riverside on Jan. 2.