Towns, Southside slip past St. James in Class 3A Regional semifinals
Published 11:18 am Tuesday, February 21, 2023
By Travis Gupton
The Selma Times-Journal
When Southside needed a big push against St. James in the Class 3A Central Regional semifinals, the Panthers turned to senior Roosevelt Towns III.
Towns delivered as the Panthers beat Saint James 41-37 in Birmingham.
The Panthers trailed most of the night. With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, Towns hit back-to-back three-point shots to give Southside the lead and enough momentum for the victory.
Southside advances to the Regional Championship Game on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. in Birmingham.
“We know that Trey is an underrated player,” Panthers Head Coach Kelvin Lett said. “But tonight, he displayed senior leadership. He was not afraid of the moment. He took big shots when he needed to and he made them. On the defensive end, I asked him as a post player to guard a wing and he did a great job. I just want to commend him on that.”
Early in the game, both teams looked to get the ball into the low post. Each post player got getting anything they wanted. As the first half progressed, Saint James’ KJ Jackson started to show his authority in the paint. His size and strength were starting to become too much for Southside and so Panthers head coach Lett made a change mid-game. Lett put Derick Smith on Jackson instead of Erick Smith. From that point on Jackson, became a non-factor.
“When we talk about the twins of course Derick is the stronger of the two,” Lett said. “So, therefore, I needed that physical presence with that big body and let Erick be the help side. So that way when he comes over his left would not be bodied up. Derick did a great job bodying him up and fronting him and Erick did a great job being on the weak side ready for the lob.”
Late in the first half, Southside could not find any offense, allowing Saint James to extend their lead for a 23-18 halftime advantage. Jackson was the leading scorer for the Trojans with nine points. Southside was led in scoring by Erick Smith with seven points.
As the second half began, it was the Trojan’s turn not to have any offense. Southside’s defense played on a different level, forcing highly contested shots by the Trojans. Towns became a more prominent offensive presence in the second half, scoring 11 points. He also made the big two three-pointers in the fourth quarter.