Grading Out: Stars keep Northside in CPC title hunt

Published 5:21 pm Saturday, January 13, 2018

It was a good week in Pinetown. Northside’s boys earned their biggest win thus far when they knocked off Pamlico County, 78-74, on Friday. The Hurricanes had been unblemished in the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference, so the win keeps the Panthers in the hunt for the league title.

Northside won both of its games on the heels of numerous players. Johnathan Clark dominated the win over Columbia. Bryson Radcliffe had his best game on Friday. Rashod Smith was consistent throughout the week.

The Lady Panthers earned a fourth-straight win against Columbia on Wednesday. The streak came to an end against powerhouse Pamlico County, but they still managed 27 points against the 1-A championship runner up.

Southside’s girls picked up wins in back-to-back games: a conference win over Tarboro, and a non-conference domination of Mattamuskeet.



Rashod Smith is as good as they get. His work night in, night out is what makes Northside’s offense go. He and Clark were on the same page right out of the gate Wednesday, despite the Panthers not having played in nine days.

Smith had 22 points in Wednesday’s win over Columbia. He followed that with 28 to lead the Panthers past Pamlico County. His presence on the floor alone was threatening. For example, he was able to split off in transition and draw a defender off the ball, opening up a lane for his running mate.



Senior guard Symone Ruffin filled out the stat sheets all last week, which helped Southside earn a conference win over Tarboro and dominate Mattamuskeet. Against the Vikings, Ruffin scored a game-best 19 points. She added seven rebounds, six steals and five assists.

Ruffin had another 16 against Mattamuskeet. She also had six assists, five steals and four rebounds. She’s also been a defensive model for Southside’s younger players. She constantly pressures her assignment while staying out of foul trouble.



Bryson Radcliffe has had a somewhat quiet season thus far. In the past, the senior had been a cornerstone of forward-heavy Panther squads. He’s smart in the post and can stretch the floor with his range.

He hasn’t been as heavily relied upon on offense this season, but that didn’t stop him from exploding for 25 points against the Hurricanes on Friday. Arguably the most impressive part of that game was Radcliffe’s perfection in his nine tries from the free-throw line.



Sophomore Ke’shayla Arthur has emerged as a playmaker for Northside. It’s helped the Lady Panthers stay competitive in the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference as junior Gabby Slade continues to work her way back into a rhythm.

Arthur scored in double figures in Wednesday’s win over Columbia. She had no problem turning aggressive defense into fact-paced offense. Northside’s offense also benefitted from Arthur’s increasing effectiveness from range.