Jones, Mack lift No. 5 Southside over No. 4 Keith

Published 12:46 am Saturday, December 1, 2012

Southside guard Sammarkus Jones, right, shoots over Keith’s Dalven Johnson during Friday’s game at Southside. Jones had 24 points in Southside’s win over Keith. -- Robert Hudson

The Southside Panthers didn’t take the lead on a crowd-pleasing alley-oop from Je’von Hall to Jeffery Mack late in the second quarter, but that’s arguably when they took the momentum, as they eventually pulled ahead and held off a late comeback to defeat the rival Keith Bears 72-63 at home on Friday.

As Mack’s slam dunk helped send Southside into halftime trailing only 29-28, Panthers head coach Cedric Brown wanted to know did his team think it could pull off the win, and the answer eventually turned out to be a resounding yes.

“At halftime, we asked one question: did anybody believe? That’s what we’ve been talking about all year is believing,” Brown said. “Our hat’s are off to Keith. They played an excellent game and brought out the best in us tonight. This is one of those nights where I can say we truly played a full game. And we’re just trying to instill in the guys that each and every night should be like this one no matter who your opponent is.”

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Southside (7-1, No. 5 Class 3A) opened the third quarter on a mission, as Sammarkus Jones and Robert Sullivan scored the first two shots of the quarter to make it a 31-30 game.

Keith’s John Pettway hit a layup to put the Bears (3-3, No. 4 Class 1A) a little further ahead at 33-30 with 7:09 left in the quarter.

But Southside countered by going on an 11-0 run that included 8 points by Jones and put the Panthers ahead 41-33 with 2:52 left in the quarter.

Keith’s Rodney Ellis drained a 3-pointer to stop the bleeding at 41-36, but Jones responded for Southside, hitting a runner in the lane with teammate Derick Daniels adding a shot in the paint to put the Panthers lead at 45-36 with 1:54 left in the quarter.

Ellis hit another 3-pointer to make it 45-39, but Mack and Jones hit back-to-back shots, as Southside went into the fourth leading 50-40.

Hall opened the fourth with a 3-pointer and Mack and Jones added shots in a run that made it 60-47 with 4:53 left, as Southside appeared to be pulling away, but Keith didn’t stop fighting.

The Bears went on an 11-0 run that included 6 points from Walton Young, as well as a 3-pointer by Anfernee Simmons and a basket in the paint by Demond Holmes, making it 60-58 with 2:19 left.

Hall scored again on a layup and Octavius Gulley hit a shot in the paint for Southside that made it 64-58.

Ellis hit a big three for Keith that made it 64-61, but Mack hit a jumper and then finished off a fast break with his second dunk of the game that made it 68-61 with 56 seconds to play, as Southside went on for the win.

Tommy Tisdale, head boys basketball coach of Keith, said key errors down the stretch such as an offensive foul and a few offensive rebounds by Southside hurt the Bears, but he added his team will go back to work.

“They got momentum. I think we came out in the second half and we had a lot of mental mistakes. Hat’s off to coach Brown and Southside. They had a great game plan and his boys played extremely well,” Tisdale said. “They made shots, we didn’t in key spots. I told the guys I take 100 percent responsibility for this loss. I’m not down on the guys. We’ve got to pick it up and go to work tomorrow against Wilcox.”

Jones and Hall led the Panthers with 24 points each, while Mack added 14 points.

Ellis led Keith with 24 points, while Simmons added 11 points.

Keith will take the court again on Saturday at home against Wilcox with games starting at 5 p.m.

Southside will play again on Dec. 7 at Central-Hayneville with games starting at 5 p.m.