Southside girls ready for new era

Published 12:14 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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The good news for new Southside girls basketball coach Misty Mooring is that she inherits three starters from last year’s squad that made it to the fourth round of the 1A state playoffs.

The bad news is that she has to replace the best player in school history and her second-leading scorer.

Ka’Nyah O’Neal has taken her considerable talent to Fayetteville State after having her jersey retired and ending her career among the state’s all-time leading scorers and rebounders.

Junior Lily McLean was the Seahawks second-leading scorer and played a key role in the backout with O’Neal last season, but has decided to spend the winter preparing for softball season.

That leaves Mooring, a Douglass Crossroads native and former Northside standout, with holes to fill.

“We’re not asking any one player to step up and contribute 30 points and 12 rebounds every night like Ka’Nyah did,” Mooring said. “However, everybody knows that several individuals will have to contribute more. I’m okay with that and think we have a chance to be a solid team.”

Senior De’Najah Warren and juniors I’Kiriyah Minor, Tamya Smith and Killiah Moore started or saw significant playing time last year and Mooring thinks all of them will continue to develop.

“We were working on cutting to get open the other day in practice and they said they didn’t have to do that last year because they were always open,” Mooring said. “It took me a minute to figure out it was because three defenders were on Ka’Nyah. It’s new situations for them this year and they have the skills to step up, it’s a matter of them doing it when they’ve never had too before.”

Mooring, who replaced the retired Milton Ruffin as the Seahawks coach, teaches Health and P.E. at Southside after four years at Chocowinity Middle School. She played at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. and went into the health care field before assuming her current role.

“I’ve wanted to teach and coach for a long time and jumped when the opportunity came up at CMS,” Mooring said. “I have a chance to teach more things at the high school level in addition to fundamentals, so I’m looking forward to learning what high school basketball is all about.”

Southside hosts Moorings old school Jan. 12 when Northside comes in and returns to her old gym later in the month.

“There was no Southside when I was at Northside, so there really is no rivalry for me,” she said. “However, I’m well aware of it from the kids perspective and it will be fun to be back when we go there. Coach Leathers is an outstanding person and I forward to seeing her again.”