Southside overwhelmed by Croatan in double-digit home loss

Published 7:33 pm Monday, December 10, 2018

CHOCOWINITY — A well-drilled Croatan team proved to be too much for Southside on Friday night, as the Cougars smothered the Seahawks with their full-court press and never allowed them to get into an offensive rhythm in what was a 64-45 loss at home for Southside.

“We went up against a well-coached, well-disciplined team. You could tell that by the way they played, the way they listened to the coach. It was tough,” Southside head coach Sean White said. “They did a good job of pressing us tonight.”

Southside (1-2 1A Coastal Plains Conference) had issues breaking Croatan’s (1-2 1A Coastal 8) press, often turning the ball over in its own end of the court, leading to easy baskets for the Cougars. But thanks to Croatan getting in early foul trouble, the Seahawks managed to keep the score close, trailing only 13-9 after a quarter of play.

The second quarter was a different story though. Led by Jalen Kirkman and Ty Smith, who led Southside with 15 and 11 points, respectively, the Seahawks managed to score 14 points in the second. The only problem was Croatan hit three 3-pointers and repeatedly got to the free-throw line to score 21 points of its own, extending its lead to 11 points at the halftime break.

It only got worse for Southside, as Croatan’s J.P. McLean reentered the game in the third quarter after sitting much of the first half due to foul trouble. The Cougar scored 11 second-half points to finish with a team-high 13.

“(McLean) was eating us up, especially in the second half when he came back in,” White said. “We got him in foul trouble in the first half, which helped out a lot. That’s what kept the game a little closer, because obviously he’s their best guy. Getting him in foul trouble helped out, but then when he came back in in the second half, we’ve got to be able to defend him and stop him from penetrating.”

There were signs of life shown by the Seahawks at points in the third and fourth quarters, as Smith and Kirkman tried to will their team back into the game. Southside managed to score four or five points in a row to cut into Croatan’s lead, but the Cougars responded every time with a bigger run of their own.

“It’s frustrating,” White said. “Basketball is a game of runs; it’s never back and forth every time. We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to get better at stopping the ball for one thing.”

Points were hard to come by for Southside on Friday, as Kirkman and Smith were the only Seahawks in double digits. Aeron Wright chipped in with five points, while Jamari Nelson and Daveion McCraw both had three points, and Demaujae Brown, Sion Kinlaw, Hundley Stallings and Hunter Tyler each had two.

Having a team that lacked experience at the varsity level coming into the season, White said more practice time is what his players need.

“We’ve just got to get more practice time to get better,” White said. “We’re still young and we still have got a lot to go, a lot to put in.”

Southside returns to action tomorrow, as it hosts Columbia (1-3 1A Atlantic 5 Conference) at 7:30 p.m.