Report and photo by Wes Gwaltney
Any time you make it to Saturday in a tournament, good things are always happening and that was the case for both Southerner teams in the 4A East Regional tournament.
The Southerners would be in action on the boys’ side first as they would duke it out in the third-place game with the girls looking at a second straight Regional final following the boys’ matchup.
Seeing a very familiar opponent, the Southerners would get a chance to even up the season contests with the Brookland Bearcats.
The two teams have battled it out three times this season, with the home team winning each game, but this being the first game contested on a neutral floor.
Starting the ballgame with an opening six to nothing run, the Southerners would control much of the first quarter as the Bearcats wouldn’t even score their first basket until there were just two minutes remaining in the frame.
Southside would lead 12-4 at the end of one quarter. The Bearcats would find their footing in the second as they would outscore the Southerners and would cut the Southerner lead in half at the intermission at 17-13.
A low-scoring third quarter would see the Southerners extend their lead by one going into the final eight minutes.
The action would heat up in the fourth as both teams would tack on their biggest totals of the game, but the Southerners’ ability to break the Bearcat press and find the best shot possible would award them the victory by a 40-28 final.
This gives the Southerners the three seed out of the East where they will move on to state tournament action Tuesday at 1 p.m. against Berryville.
Leading the Southerners in scoring was Senior Devon Halford with 15 and Senior Jonathan Shane would join in double digits with 10.
To complete the Southside doubleheader, the Lady Southerners would look to pull the upset on the 21-4 (13-0) Pulaski Academy Lady Bruins, a team they defeated in the same region a year prior.
Both teams would come out swinging in the ballgame as PA would focus on shutting down the scoring abilities of Juniors Olivia Allen and Brett Gardner while letting the ball fly from the three-point arc.
Coach Riley and the Lady Southerners were ready for this as Sophomore Kamie Jenkins and Freshman Alexa Blevins would score eight of Southside’s eleven points and would have the Lady Southerners leading by one at the end of the first.
The Lady Bruins would turn the tide in the second as they would hold Southside to just two baskets and would take the lead into the halftime break 22-15.
After a slow start for both sides to the third quarter, the Lady Southerners would go on an eight-and-zero run and would apply the pressure to the Lady Bruins as PA would see their lead diminish to just three heading into the final quarter.
The Lady Southerners would go cold from the floor in the fourth quarter as Pulaski Academy would capitalize and outscore Southside 12 to four and would defeat the Southerners 43-32.
The Lady Southerners will now move on to the state tournament as the East two seed and will play Wednesday at 4 p.m. against Farmington.
Leading the way for Southside in scoring was Kamie Jenkins with 14 and Brett Gardner would follow in double digits with 10 points.