Raiders down Northeastern; East Bladen awaits

Feb. 26, 2014 @ 11:19 PM

The second chapter is in the books.

Southern Vance followed a dominant performance on Monday in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 2-A playoffs with a 73-36 win over No. 21 Elizabeth City Northeastern (9-12) on Wednesday.

Next, the fifth-seeded Lady Raiders (22-2) travel down to No. 4 East Bladen (27-1) on Friday with the tip set for 6 p.m. in Elizabethtown. The winner advances to the East Regional next week in Fayetteville.

East Bladen’s lone loss came against Clinton.

Whether it’s the Eagles from Elizabethtown or the Eagles from Elizabeth City, Southern is more focused on its team.

“They’re just really motivated, trying to stay on task,” said Raiders coach Amy Simpson. “We try to look at things as chapters, just trying to stay focused on what we want to do.”

Southern didn’t get out to as dominant a start on Wednesday as it did Monday against No. 28 Croatan. The Raiders led Northeastern 18-9 after one quarter, but opened up a 38-17 halftime advantage courtesy of points off turnovers and hot shooting.

Southern outscored Northeastern 21-4 over about an eight-minute stretch spanning the second and third quarters.

The Raiders forced 11 steals on the game and were led by point guard Breona Jones’ 22 points and six assists. The senior added three rebounds and three steals.

“The whole team played together,” said Jones. “We talked. We just played good.”

Jones’ classmate Kechae Parker had nine points and five rebounds.

The relentless mentality the Raiders seem to possess is pretty simple in the eyes of Parker.

“We just start every game off the same,” said Parker. “We go out there in the first quarter and push ourselves to score, not let other teams score.”

Southern has been doing a pretty good job of that as of late, pushing its win streak to 15 games with the effort against Northeastern, which upset No. 12 East Duplin on Monday.

Nine players scored for the Raiders and Rashyda Burwell and Ayeisha Teasley scored 12 and 11, respectively. Moesha Sneed, Kiyanna Kearney, Mikayla Sellers, Jazsmine Thorpe, and Canaan Dale also got in the scorebook.

“They just push it all the time,” Northeastern head coach Pat Thornton said of Southern before referencing Simpson. “She had her second and third string in and they were pushing it — and they weren’t quite as good at it — but they were still pretty good at it. We didn’t play particularly well. Long trips, we never do. It’s hard to do. We just never got into our rhythm at all.”

When Southern is in its rhythm, the Raiders are tough to beat. They just have to make sure they don’t beat themselves.

“We just want to make sure we stay focused on what it is we have to do,” said Simpson. “If we win our team battles, we know we should win the ballgame. That’s what our goal is.”

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.