Lady Seahawks bounce back to end tournament with win

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, January 1, 2019

ROBERSONVILLE — Coming off of an 18-point loss against Camden County to open the South Creek Christmas tournament on Thursday, the Southside girls basketball team bounced back with a 49-44 victory over Edenton on Friday that saw the Seahawks jump out to a early lead and hold on for the win as the Aces attempted to claw their way back late.

Southside (3-3, 1-0 1A Coastal Plains Conference) head coach Milton Ruffin was pleased with his team’s much-improved performance, which he said was fueled by the disappointment his players felt after the Seahawks’ loss to open the tournament.

“Everybody felt bad about (Thursday) and they know that we’re a better team than how we actually played,” Ruffin said. “They focused today (Friday). I know that the team we played was a little bit tougher than what we played (Thursday), but they came out and they competed and they competed until the end of the ball game.”

What helped propel Southside to victory was a first quarter that was the mirror opposite of how the Seahawks played on Thursday. Led by Shantel Cannon’s 24 points and seven steal, both game-highs, Southside came out against Edenton (3-2 1A Albemarle Athletic Conference) full of energy and intensity. With an improved defensive performance, the Seahawks forced turnovers and used their speed to score in transition to build a 15-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.

“We stayed with the game plan that we had,” Ruffin said. “We came in and said we’re going to play that 1-2-2 (zone) and we stayed with it; we didn’t come out of it. The girls played hard and it was just a good win for us. We needed that win before we start conference play on the fourth.”

The Aces didn’t just roll over for Southside, instead finding their form in the second period. Fueled by some sharp shooting, Edenton hit three 3-pointers in the quarter on the way to scoring 16 points and taking a 22-20 lead. But the Seahawks didn’t hang their heads, as Jasmine Blango and Laquisha Woolard, who scored 13 and 11 points respectively, along with Cannon, helped Southside close the half on a 5-0 run to take a 25-22 lead into the halftime break.

Cannon opened the third quarter hitting three-consecutive baskets, including a 3-pointer, to give the Seahawks a 32-22 lead with 5:20 remaining in the period. But Edenton managed to stay in the game, as Anna Bass was effective down low, scoring five points in the quarter and bringing down rebounds to keep possessions going for the Aces. Southside’s lead stood at 36-34 heading into the final period.

Looking to put the game out of reach, the Seahawks began the fourth with an 8-0 run that culminated with a 4-point play from Cannon after being fouled while draining a shot from behind the arc. The play caused the Southside bench to erupt and gave the Seahawks a 44-34 lead with 4:00 left in the game.

As a team with no seniors and just two juniors in Cannon and Kejasia Midgette, Southside showed its lack of experience late, committing turnover after turnover and nearly handing the game to Edenton. But the Seahawks did just enough in the final minutes to come away with the win, which Ruffin said was a big confidence boost for his young team.

“It’s really huge, especially with this young group right here,” Ruffin said. “We’ve just got to learn how to finish. They got a little excited there, but it’s a great win for them.”

Southside will next face off against Jones Senior at home on Friday at 6 p.m.