Southside shuts down Columbia in a rout

Published 8:14 pm Thursday, December 13, 2018

CHOCOWINITY — Southside breezed to a 62-26 win over Columbia at home Wednesday night, overwhelming the Wildcats with its press, which both shut down Columbia’s offense and produced plenty of easy scoring opportunities in transition for the Seahawks after creating turnovers.

“That’s a pretty good win for us,” Southside head coach Sean White said. “(We) came out aggressive in our press, really looked good. We had worked on that since the Croatan game, since (last) Friday, so we had two days to work on it before tonight. We had spent right much time on it in practice to kind of get guys in the right positions, keep the ball out of the middle, and you could see that. We started anticipating the passing, cutting it off in the middle and getting the steals.”

Southside (2-2 1A Coastal Plains Conference) opened the game with a 6-0 run, but perhaps getting too comfortable, allowed Columbia (1-4, 0-2 1A Atlantic 5 Conference) to respond with a 10-point run of its own. The Seahawks responded through guard Aeron Wright, whose aggression driving to the basket saw him make a couple of layups and sink two free throws after a trip to the line. The scoring outburst from Wright, who finished as the game’s leading scorer with 12 points, gave back the lead to Southside, which it wouldn’t relinquish again.

Not satisfied with his team’s effort in the first quarter, White had his team crank up the pressure in the second period, resulting in the Seahawks limiting Columbia to five points in the quarter. Scoring several baskets in transition after stealing the ball away, Southside built a 28-15 going into halftime.

The Seahawks continued to turn the screws when play resumed in the third quarter. In just the opening minute of the period, Southside had three steals that were all converted into baskets on the fast break. The Seahawks’ press worked wonders in the period, as they scored 19 points, many of which came courtesy of easy layups after steals, while holding Columbia to six points. When the third quarter came to an end, Southside led the Wildcats, 47-21.

The Seahawks’ press was even more effective in the third due to an adjustment White made during halftime.

“We actually moved it back a little bit to kind of tighten up the middle. And that seemed to help too because it was easier for our guys, as far as space,” White said. “It shortened the space to get there to cut that pass off.”

But while it was a good night defensively for Southside, the Seahawks’ shooting was off, which White said he’ll look at fixing. With the poor shooting, the majority of Southside’s points came on layups, with nine different Seahawks scoring on the night. Ty Smith and Jalen Kirkman chipped in with nine points apiece, Jamari Nelson had eight points, Hundley Stallings and Kevin White scored seven each, Hunter Tyler and Sion Kinlaw both contributed with four points and Daveion McCraw registered two points.

Two players White singled out for praise after the game were Kinlaw and Tyler. Southside dominated the boards for much of the game, especially on the offensive end where the Seahawks grabbed five offensive rebounds on a single possession at one point, and Kinlaw played a big part in that. White was complimentary of Tyler’s aggression with the ball in the paint, saying his team will need that same effort when Southside faces tougher opponents in conference play, such Northside, Riverside and Pamlico County.

Immediately after the game White already was looking forward to his team’s next challenge.

“We’ll definitely have stiffer competition Friday (today) against Bear Grass. I think they’re going to match up with us very well,” White said.