Southside wins area tournament, preparing for sub-regional

Published 8:21pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Southside Panthers took to the road on Monday and claimed the Class 3A Area 2 championship with their 46-38 win over Straughn.

Jeffery Mack had 17 points and 17 rebounds, while Sammarkus Jones had 16 points and 5 assists during Monday’s win.

Cedric Brown, head boys basketball coach of Southside High School (20-9), said the Panthers were able to break a close game open down the stretch.

“It was a close game until about four minutes left in the game, which we pulled away when Sammarkus and Jeffery stepped up and hit some big shots. We got a chance to actually open up the floor a little bit within those four minutes,” Brown said. “We went on a 12-2 run from the four-minute mark to the two-minute mark. It was big to win it on the road in the fashion that we did it.”

Brown said the Panthers were focused on achieving their goal in Monday’s road trip to Andalusia.

“It came down pretty much to us kind of looking back at our goals that we set at the beginning of the year, which one was to win the area tournament,” Brown said. “In doing so on the road, the motto was pretty much about going through. The road we had to travel was Straughn, which is about two hours away. It’s kind of hard for the guys traveling two hours on the bus for an uncomfortable trip and then having to get off the bus and play a phenomenal game, which they did.”

Brown said the area championship has been a long time coming, and he hopes it’s a trend that continues.

“It’s been a long time. This is my fifth year, and for four years in a row, we’ve been runner-ups to our county rival in Dallas County,” Brown said. “But it’s good to go into that 3A classification, and we kind of want to dominate that area that we’re in.”

With the area title win, Southside won the right to host its South Sub-Regional game, and now prepares to play Bayside Academy.

Brown side being able to play at home, as opposed to traveling on an hours-long trip, is a significant advantage.

“It’s a big advantage. For one, you’re playing on your home court, which this year we finished, regular season, 9-1 at home, and that’s big because you know your goals, your fans, and your atmosphere,” Brown said. “Bayside, they’ll have to travel a few hours to an unfamiliar place.”

Southside will host Bayside on Friday at 7 p.m., and Brown said the days leading up to the game will be spent learning about an unfamiliar foe in Bayside.

“Right now, we’re pretty much in the process of gathering film and getting as much information as we can on Bayside, so they won’t be 100 percent strangers to us,” Brown said. “We want to get their tendencies down and their defense. We’re going to be working on what we do best. We’re trying to improve day-by-day, game-by-game. We’re looking at it as a one-game season. So the guys are pretty focused.”

Brown said the Panthers understand the importance of Friday’s sub-regional game, with a loss spelling the end of the season, but with a win meaning advancement to the regional tournament, excitement is spreading around the community.

“It’s going around the school. The student body, the faculty, everybody is pretty much pulling for us right now. Our faithful fans from years past, everybody’s supporting us,” Brown said. “It’s playoff time and everybody is rooting the guys on and giving congratulations here and there. I think they’re enjoying it. We had a pretty good regular season, but this is the time that we play for right here, a one-game season that leads to a stopping point in Birmingham. And that’s what we talk about is the road to Birmingham.”


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