Panthers come up dry at Pamlico County

Published 10:12 am Saturday, February 17, 2018


New Bern Sun-Journal


BAYBORO – The gym at Pamlico County High School was raucous and rocking Friday night for the duration of the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference tournament championship game between the Hurricanes and Northside.

The audience making the noise was different, however, from the start of the game to the end.

The Panthers came out with the hot hand, building a 17-8 lead after a quarter and a 35-24 advantage at the half with fans from Riverside (Martin) hanging around to help cheer against the Hurricanes.

“We’re Pamlico, you either like us or not,” Pamlico County coach Earl Sadler said.

“Before the game I told the guys no matter the result, I wanted us to show people how to win the right way or lose the right way.”

Sadler didn’t have to worry about losing in the end, as his players refused it, unleashing a second half in which Pamlico County outscored the Panthers 34-11 to win the game 60-46.

After Northside star guard Rashod Smith scored 14 points in the first half, he finished with 14.

“Just an incredible effort from our guys, a complete testament to how bad they wanted it,” Sadler said.

“I told them at halftime that we couldn’t get it back with one shot, we had to take it.”

He also said a large part of his halftime speech was to settle down a bit.

“The guys were so jacked up that they were about to jump out of their skin,” Sadler said.

“I told them let’s just fight and play hard and smart.”

Pamlico County did it with the defense, rebounding and attacking the rim.

The Hurricanes won on the boards 44-30 as four different players had nine or more rebounds, led by guard Derrick Columbus’ 11.

Lamont Murray led the ‘Canes in scoring with 17 points, George Jones had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds and Sincere Gibbs put in 11 points.

Sadler said it was the first time since at least 1984 that a Hurricane team had swept the conference regular season and tournament.

It was also the first time in his coaching career that Sadler was doused with the “Gatorade shower.”

“They tried to get me once back when I coached girls but I dodged it and they missed,” Sadler said.

Pamlico County will earn the No. 1 seed out of the CPC. The Panthers will take the second seed, which doesn’t guarantee a home game in the first round of the playoffs.