Southside hammers South Creek in opener

Published 10:20 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2017

ROBERSONVILLE — It took some time for Southside to get going in Wednesday’s tournament opener against hosting South Creek. The Lady Seahawks hadn’t played in 12 days. Still, they built a double-digit halftime lead en route to a 61-32 win.

Southside, even as it was finding its footing, largely commanded the game. It likes to get out in transition, but also did well in running its half-court offense. Danielle Ruffin hit a 3-pointer with under two minutes left in the opening period to push her team’s lead to 13-5.

PHOTOS: Lady Seahawks at South Creek Christmas Tournament

“We were kind of sluggish. We had been off for three days,” coach Milton Ruffin said. “I kind of thought we were stuck in the mud, so I told them to pick the energy up in the second half.”

The Lady Seahawks actually picked up the energy before the second half rolled around. They knocked down the first five field goals of the second quarter. Symone Ruffin kick started it with a trey, and Danielle Ruffin followed shortly thereafter.

Perimeter shooting has been a strength for this team early in the season. Shantel Cannon has taken a step forward in her sophomore season.

“We’ve been working on long shooting during practice. The girls, they start taking it seriously,” Ruffin said. “They’re out there working and trying to get better. … Shantel, she’s stepped up. She’s already athletic. She works hard in practice. She’s stepped her game up. She’s playing at another level, and our team needs that.”

It’s also help open up the inside, which is where Southside thrives. Symone Ruffin is effective in driving to the basket. Fellow senior Michaela Dixon has also been a go-to in the post. Dixon had three baskets in that second-quarter surge, helping push the lead to 25-10.

As well as Southside’s offense did in surpassing the 60-point mark for the third time in six games, it was the defense that led the way. It started with Dixon and the way she’s fine-tuned her fundamentals on that end of the court. South Creek had senior Raigan Evans, who owned an advantage in power, matched against Dixon in the inside.

Symone Ruffin and Michaela Dixon gang up on a South Creek player as she tries to bring the ball across half court.

“They had a bigger girl. She’s been working on her defensive positioning without getting into foul trouble,” Ruffin said. “She’s been working on that, and also her shooting. If she can shoot the ball from the outside, that keeps the big girls on her guarding her. That’ll open up the inside for us.”

The Lady Seahawks continued to play with more energy in the second half. They were able to turn up the pressure on defense, which fuelled their transition offense. Southside had extended its lead to 41-18 before long.

Sophomore Kejasia Midgette capped off the third with a late layup. Southside showed off its chemistry early in the fourth when Dixon finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play on a fast break. That gave the Lady Seahawks a 49-28 lead in the final period, which they were more than able to ride out.

Southside went on to play Edenton on Thursday at 4 p.m. Visit for video highlights, a photo gallery and more from the tournament.