Southside’s Sammarkus Jones, right, drives to the basket against Ellwood’s Devonta Cleveland during a game on Tuesday at Southside. -- Robert Hudson

Southside rides strong second half to 70-54 win over Ellwood

Published 12:16am Wednesday, November 28, 2012

After giving up a big lead early, the Southside Panthers were able to recover and pull away for a 70-54 win over the Ellwood Christian Eagles at home on Tuesday.

The Panthers (5-1) controlled the pace of the game early, jumping out to an 18-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.

But Ellwood (1-3) used a pair of scoring runs in the second, including a 9-0 run to close the first half, to close the gap at 31-28 going into the locker room at halftime.

The momentum had turned in the Eagles’ favor, but Southside head coach Cedric Brown simply reminded his team that they have to leave it all out on the floor every night.

“I just had to remind them of how lackadaisical we were playing. Ellwood’s a good team, my hat’s off to them and they came in a played hard tonight, but on any given night you can be beaten and that’s what I’m trying to get my guys to understand,” Brown said. “Therefore, you have to bring your A-game every single time you’re on the floor. That’s what I tried to instill in their heads coming out of halftime.”

That little reminder helped the Panthers in a big way, as Southside scored 9 of the third quarter’s first 10 points, with baskets from Jeffery Mack, Je’von Hall, Octavious Gulley and Sammarkus Jones that paced the Panthers to a 48-32 lead going into the fourth.

Ellwood tried to close the gap with a pair of free throws by Devonta Cleveland and a bucket in the paint by Demarcus Dillard making it a 53-36 game with 6:37 left to play, but Jones buried two 3-pointers on back-to-back offensive possessions that put the game safely in the win column for Southside.

Mack led the Panthers with 23 pints, while Jones had 15 points, Hall had 10 points and Robert Sullivan added 9 points for Southside.

Amari Spencer led Ellwood with 15 points, while Jalen Furlow had 9 points.

Steven Hendrieth, head coach of Ellwood, said Southside controlled the flow of the game in the second half and threw the Eagles off, but he expects his team to get better down the road.

“We lost our composure and let them speed us up too much,” Hendrieth said. “We had poor ball handling, missed free throws. I take my hat off to Southside. They put pressure on my guards and made them a little erratic, but we’re improving. Fourth game, we’ve got a long way to go, but we’ll get better.”

The Panthers will take the floor again at home against Keith High School on Friday starting at 5 p.m., while the Eagles will play again on Dec. 4 against Keith in their first area game of the season.

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