Stepping Up: Some Beaufort County teams can benefit from time off

Published 5:16 pm Monday, January 8, 2018

Snow and ice all around eastern North Carolina have made a mess of winter sports schedules. The biggest casualty was Friday’s basketball game between Northside and Southside.

For many of the teams in the area, though, the time off could be welcomed. In cancelling classes for Beaufort County schools, the weather also prevented teams from getting on the practice court. Those that will benefit most from the break are teams that needed time away from basketball, or those that need more time to prepare for games that should have taken place last week.

Here is a brief glance at how each Beaufort County basketball team looks as the area thaws and hopes to get back on track:


Washington’s boys:

The Pam Pack finally earned its first win of the season in beating Southside in the Northside Holiday Tournament. However, 2018 began with an unsuccessful trip to South Lenoir. Washington, with little practice time last week, is now staring down a match with a mighty Kinston team.

Washington can’t afford to lose any time on the practice court. It is still working toward playing a complete 32-minute game. The Pam Pack likely won’t be in sync come Tuesday’s contest with the Vikings. Then again, Kinston may struggle out of the gate, too, and the home-court advantage may lend itself to Washington.


Washington’s girls:

The Lady Pack is trying to avoid the dismal start to the New Year that unraveled last year’s campaign. The girls came out on the losing end at South Lenoir and have a 13-1 Kinston club coming to town on Tuesday. It’s a tough stretch to begin the year, so having an opportunity to mentally reset could prove beneficial in the long run.

Washington struggled with injuries while competing in South Central’s Christmas tournament. It would have had an uphill battle in these first two games of 2018, so getting some time to rest and recover likely isn’t the worst thing.


Northside’s boys:

Northside is best off getting in a rhythm. On the floor, the synergy between its guards is what’s led it to nine wins in its first 11 games. Being removed from basketball — its trip to rival Southside and practice time — is a detriment to that chemistry.

Now that’s not to say that the Panthers will be any worse off. They travel to a hapless Jones Senior team on Tuesday and have a non-conference tune up against Columbia on Wednesday before hosting a top-tier Pamlico County squad on Friday. They’ll be fine.

Northside guard Gabby Slade goes coast-to-coast for a layup.

Northside’s girls:

The Lady Panthers have quietly put things together in the last few weeks. They’ve won their last two 1-A Coastal Plains Conference games and are above .500 at 5-4. Friday’s trip to Southside would have been a good barometer for how much improvement they’ve made, but there will be plenty of other tests over the next week or so.

Northside is neutral on whether or not it should benefit from some snow days. On one hand, the Lady Panthers likely want to keep the ball rolling. On the other, they just got guard Gabby Slade back into the fold. Practice time would help her mesh with the team again, but the time off will also help make sure she’s 100 percent.


Southside’s boys:

Much like Washington’s boys, the Seahawks need to be on the floor. They need to be playing in game or out practicing. They’re a young group that, for the most part, still seems to be finding an identity. Unfortunately for them, that’s something that generally happens in games or during practice.

Southside’s last game saw it start in a 17-0 hole against Riverside. Head coach Sean White said he tasked the team with passing more before shooting. Getting more chances to drill that in during practice would have been beneficial. But, on the other hand, the Seahawks also got to postpone a meeting with the same Northside team that shellacked them in the holiday tournament.


Southside’s girls:

The Lady Seahawks are a top-three team in the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference. A slip up against a Riverside team that should compete for a spot behind top-ranked Pamlico County put them behind the ball.

A few days off will likely benefit Southside the most. It gives the team a chance to put that ugly loss in the rearview mirror. Moreover, the Lady Seahawks are sorely missing senior guard Danielle Ruffin. Getting some time away from the court to get everyone rested and healthy will be best. Their next game is at a South Creek team they’ve already handled decisively, but that will be the beginning of three games in three days.