Spartans double-up on Wildcats
Southern’s 59-48 victory over East Chapel Hill on Friday night in boys’ basketball was a battle of wills.
East Chapel Hill wanted to slow the game down.
Southern wanted to speed it up.
In the end, speed won with the Spartans’ 19-point second half scoring spree by Amari Hamilton to come back from a five-point halftime deficit.
“I’m just proud of the way our guys played on Senior Day,” said Southern coach Kendrick Hall, who penciled in an all-senior starting lineup for the occasion. “The main thing I want to see in this program is progression.
“Sometimes we look great, like we’re improving. Sometimes you wonder if they’re getting what we teach at practice.”
The Wildcats took a 20-15 lead into halftime, as Justen Best scored seven points.
East Chapel Hill (9-13, 0-10 PAC-6) came out in the second half running a slow-it-down offense against Southern’s zone defense, its first possession taking 36 seconds before a shot.
But Southern (9-12, 4-6) quickly switched to man-to-man defense. On its first possession after the switch, senior guard Vince Philips forced a five-seconds call on defense.
And then Hamilton went off, nailing 3-point baskets on back-to-back possessions on his way to a game-high 21 points.
“At halftime, I just told them to look for better shots,” Hall said. “(Hamilton) was shooting with confidence.”
Things didn’t get better for the Wildcats in the fourth quarter, as Southern started the period with a 13-6 run. East Chapel Hill finally had to bend to the will of Southern, going to a full-court press with five minutes remaining in the game.
In the girls game, Southern defeated East Chapel Hill 52-47 but not before the Wildcats fought their way back into the game.
After trailing by 19 points in the fourth quarter, Ali Cyr-Scully made a shot and completed an and-one free throw to spark an 18-2 run. But the deficit proved to large for the Wildcats (5-15, 1-9).
The Spartans (15-5, 9-1) went on a 14-2 run to close out the third quarter to take a 46-29 lead into the final period. Alexis Joyner and Ariana Tillman led the Spartans with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Also notable on senior day was Charity Shaw’s last performance of the National Anthem as a high school student before the boys game. The senior had performed the anthem before Southern football and basketball games.
Southern (B) 59, ECH 48
EAST CHAPEL HILL — Justen Best 20, Todd Smith 10, Robert Wilson 7, Arkavius Parks 6, Louis Levin 3, Jaison Jones 2.
SOUTHERN — Amari Hamilton 21, Jerrick Richmond 11, Christian Joy 9, Isiah Maurice 6, Shamiek Wilson 5, Vince Philips 2, Ryan Hester 2, Marvin Tillman 2.
Southern (G) 52, ECH 47
EAST CHAPEL HILL — Sarah Towne 20, Ali Cyr-Scully 10, Jazmine Daye 7, Teara Holt 4, Riley Foster 4, Adrienne Davis 3.
SOUTHERN — Alexis Joyner 13, Ariana Tillman 11, Sydni-Kym Dobson 8, Bryanna Stanton 7, Jayla Futrell 2, Varen Buford 2, Kiara Torres 1.