Panthers shore up defense, sweep Seahawks

Published 12:24 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

PINETOWN — Northside notched its ninth win in a row in a successful return home against rival Southside. The Panthers downed the Seahawks, 85-43, on Friday night to hang onto their claim of first place in the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference.

The Panthers had some work to do on defense coming into the game. They let Southside hang with them the last time they met, but emerged from Chocowinity with a 91-74 win. After escaping Tarboro with a 72-69 win on Tuesday, Northside clamped down on Southside’s offense.

“I watched the film a couple of times. They try to cut people through,” Northside coach Mike Proctor said. “We focused on our defense because we weren’t defending very well. We weren’t getting help-side defense. … I think our defense picked up more than what we did at their place.”

The Seahawks and Panthers traded baskets early on. Jonathan Clark got things started. Demetrius Ebron answered. Then it was Braeden Cooper, but Ebron went back the other way to tie the game at 4-4.

Demetrius Ebron lobs an underhanded layup in the first quarter of Friday’s game at Southside.

Rashod Smith nailed the game’s first 3-pointer, which opened the flood gates for the Panthers. It sparked a 19-2 run that saw Clark and Smith get out in transition and Bryson Radcliffe cleaned up on second chances.

“We wanted to try to jump on them early because they played us so close at their place,” Proctor said. “We moved the ball around much better. We talked about taking good shots, but wanted better shots. … We moved the ball around better than we did at their place. I think that made the difference early.”

Northside led 23-8 after just eight minutes.

Ebron knocked down Southside’s first trey of the game 40 seconds into the second quarter. He hit another as the Seahawks tried to shoot their way back into the game. They came as close as 34-20, but the Panthers responded with a flurry of 13 unanswered points.

“We’ve just got to find some consistency somewhere,” Southside coach Sean White said. “I think that once we got behind in the first quarter, it was game over. That’s what it kind of looked like to me. We’re young.”

Northside continued to shoot sharply from long range. Clark began the second half with a 3. Then, after missing a dunk, Clark was able to drill another trey through contact and completed the four-point play at the line. Radcliffe added a triple of his own. Smith knocked one down at the third-period buzzer to give Northside a 72-30 lead and force a running clock.

Reserve guard Alex Daleo added a pair of 3s in the fourth.

Northside travels to Jones Senior on Monday and then hosts the Trojans on Tuesday. Wins in those games will likely set the table for a showdown with Pamlico County to determine the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference regular-season champion.

Southside welcomes South Creek on Tuesday before heading to Tarboro on Wednesday.