Selma and Southside tie

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Things stood even after regulation between Selma and Southside in their alumni game Friday night.

Surprisingly, that’s where they decided to let things stand.

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The teams played to a 69-69 tie at the Summer Slam at Selma High’s gym.

Overtime was announced, but both teams chose to leave the tie unbroken.

“For me it was a storybook ending,” said Southside team captain, Ronald Smith. “Tonight, I think we left a great message that says that unity is the indication that nobody’s going to walk away a loser.”

The charity event, created by the Freedom Foundation and the opposing team captains, benefited the Sav-a-Life organization and Police Athletic League.

Though it was an alumni game for charity, this Selma-Southside meeting was like most others – intense. It took on the feel of a playoff game as Selma inched ever closer to a lead Southside held from the opening tip.

Selma’s Ronald Lane didn’t play the first half for an unspecified reason, but hit a layup that cut the lead to 68-67 with 50 seconds left. With his team trailing by six at halftime, that changed.

“Ronald made a huge difference,” said Smith. “He got offensive rebounds and putbacks and made a huge difference in the second half.”

Following Lane’s layup, Chance Soloman drew a foul and made one free throw to tie the game. On its next trip down the court, Southside’s Courvosiea Fails fouled Selma’s Steve Martin. Martin made 1-of-2 to give Selma its first lead of the game.

Southside had a chance to reclaim the lead, but Ronald Smith missed a shot, and Arnold Smith and Lavell Craig missed putback attempts. Craig then drew a foul with 8.4 seconds left. He made the first, but missed the second. The ball went out of play as the clock ran out, resulting in a 69-69 tie. Both teams decided to leave it that way.

“The intensity picked up, and the old competitive juices started flowing, and you see guys that really wanted to win for their fans and their respective schools,” said Lane. “It was all in good fun and competition.”

The game brought back a lot of memories for its participants and fans.

“Selma-Southside High School is a rivalry for the ages. Challenges never stop,” said Selma’s Carlos Browning. “Whether it’s this game here or next year’s, it’s going to be the same.”

The rematch for next year is set up. However, the event’s status has yet to be determined. There is hope and optimism that it will become a Selma tradition.

“Right after the game, a lot of folks asked when we’re going to do it again, telling us we’ve got to do it again,” said Lane. “I don’t know what’s in the works as far as making this an annual event, but I think it will be a great opportunity for Selma to unify.”

The event’s organizer, Rev. Mark Duke, believes it is safe to say that the event will be around for a long time to come.

“We will do another next year,” said Duke. “But when we do it next year, it’ll be a lot bigger and a lot better.”

That’s music to the ears of Browning, what has already thrown down the gauntlet.

“Next year won’t be a tie. Carlos Browning says we will blow Southside out next year.”