Lady Seahawks get back at Northside

Published 1:08 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

PINETOWN — After losing on their own court earlier in the week, Southside got back at Northside with a win on the Lady Panthers’ court on Friday. The Lady Seahawks built a sizeable lead in the first quarter and were able to ride it out for a 58-51 victory.

The Lady Panthers had won their last four in a row. That run included wins at Southside — 55-37 last Monday — and at Tarboro. The Lady Seahawks were able to snap a two-game skid while ruining the Lady Panthers’ perfect week.

“Northside came to our place and beat us up pretty bad. The girls were upset and had that in their mind when they came here,” Southside coach Milton Ruffin said. “Hard work pays off. That’s what happens.”

Symone Ruffin got routine layups on the same inbound play from midcourt. Those were sandwiched between her 3-pointer, and the surge gave the visitors a 15-6 lead in the first. She added two more baskets after Sarah Petty’s make to push the advantage to 21-12 by the end of the opening period.

Ruffin was as reliable as ever. Fellow senior Michaela Dixon, after missing a handful of long-range attempts in the first, knocked down back-to-back attempts to extend Southside’s lead to 34-20 with two minutes left in the half.

As important as they were, the Lady Seahawks needed their bevy of freshmen to step up. Standout rookie Laquisha Woolard was held to just three points, but Petty and Delaney Ayers helped to fill the void.

“Symone and Michaela stepped up. They played like seniors,” Ruffin said. “Sarah had a big game for her confidence. … This game right here was big for her. Delaney, she’s a freshman, she helped us on the boards. … She was aggressive there.”

Trailing 36-24 at halftime, Northside coach Michelle Leathers tasked her team with playing more focused basketball in the second half. Ke’Shayla Arthur and Ve’Era Holloway’s had two quick baskets. Diedre Spencer followed that with a fruitful trip to the free-throw line to trim the deficit to 40-34 midway through the third.

Ke’Shayla Arthur puts on the brakes and pulls up for a jumper.

“We’ve just got to try to stay focused and do what we know we can do,” she said. “Play the game we know how to play. Don’t worry about the calls. I think we just lacked focus. We got caught up in the wrong things.”

Ruffin added: “I told the girls it’s not over with. They are going to keep coming. The score is 0-0 at halftime. Our girls showed up tonight.”

Gabby Slade nailed a 3 early in the fourth to put Northside within a shot, 45-43. Abby Mooring’s layup later on brought the Lady Panthers as close as 47-45, but they couldn’t complete the comeback.

Dixon, Petty and Carleigh Findley converted at the charity stripe down the stretch to keep Northside at arm’s length.