Brown, Panthers rely on team effort

Published 5:13pm Saturday, March 23, 2013

After guiding the Southside High School Panthers to the Class 3A state championship game this season, Cedric Brown is the coach of the year.

In his fifth season as Panthers head coach, Brown helped Southside to a 24-10 record, winning the area title and South Regional championship in the process.

Southside also made it to the Class 3A title game, and while they didn’t win the title, Brown said the Panthers have much to be proud of.

“These guys, they pretty much made a promise to me when they were freshmen that they would take us to the final four, and they did that, and we played for a championship, which is the ultimate goal at the end,” Brown said. “It didn’t end the way we expected it, but these guys, they struggled through it all — the long road trips, the Sunday practices. Whatever was asked of them, they pretty much did it. It paid off in the end. Any reward or achievement that we receive, whether it be locally or statewide, it’s a team award to me…”

Brown was named the Class 3A coach of the year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association after Southside’s run at a state title.

The chase for the state championship began long before the season, and Brown said it took the team committing to a common goal and buying in to do what they did.

“In recent years, we kept having those exits in the sub-region game, and I kind of sold it to them early in the year that it was set up for us to be where we ended up pretty much,” Brown said, “and they bought in early. It wasn’t always pleasant, but like I said, when things got hard, the guys didn’t back out. They endured through it all, and I commend them for that. With the help of my staff and the group of seniors that we had, it was wonderful to work with those guys.”

While Southside has often been high scoring, Brown credits the team’s defense the most for its success.

“Defensively, they knew what the plan was and they executed it to a T. I kind of preached to them early in the year that good defense created easy buckets for us, and it showed during the games because we would go on stretches where we wouldn’t even call a play because defense would create early offense for us and transition buckets here and there,” Brown said. “Like I told them all year, a lot of the points that we score are pretty much off transition, and if we couldn’t defend, we couldn’t have those easy buckets. With the great scoring that these guys did all season, most of it was due to their defense.”

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