Southern girls banking success on maintaining focus

Jan. 12, 2013 @ 09:06 PM

Southern Vance coach Amy Simpson isn’t settling for anything less than 100 percent focus from her Lady Raiders (12-1), who opened conference play Friday with a win at home over Northern Vance.

Twice in the second half of Southern’s 67-31 romp, Simpson called timeouts after marginal Viking runs. Both times, the Raiders responded.

“We can’t forget the gameplan, which was stop their two main scorers,” said Simpson. “And their two main scorers were going on a run. Something’s going on. We have to make sure to bring it back to their attention. Just because we’re ahead doesn’t mean you have to forget about the initial gameplan.”

The first timeout came with the Raiders up 42-18. Right out of the timeout, Breona Jones drove to the rack and hit Mikayla Sellers for a lay-in.

The second came in the fourth quarter with Southern ahead 63-29. Forty seconds after play resumed, Jones took it in for a score.

“I’m pleased to see they are responding. At the same time, we have to improve our level of focus,” said Simpson. “This year we’re trying to stay focused, taking it one game at a time. But overall, trying not to overlook the big picture.”

Jones led Southern with 21 points, Rashyda Burwell had 10 and seven other Raiders tallied points.

Next up for Southern is an away match at Chapel Hill. The Tigers have lost only once this season, to Northern Nash, and won over Orange Thursday, 83-10.

Simpson said she expects Chapel Hill to come out pressing from the onset and breaking that pressure will be Southern’s focus in practice this week.

Vikings looking ahead to Webb

The Southern game is a thing of the past for coach Randolph Crews and Northern.

“The Southern Vance game is done,” said Crews. “We’re just going to watch tape, learn and get better.”

The Vikings, who are starting the conference season with three consecutive road matches, visit J.F. Webb Friday and will have a full roster of 13 players for the first time this season.

“We’re going to bounce back, we’re going to learn from this,” said Crews. “We’re looking forward to the challenge against Webb.”

The two main Northern scorers that Simpson referenced are Kechae Parker and Tanaua White, who combined to score 23 of the Vikings’ 31 points Friday.

Crews said he still thinks his team can finish in the top four in the league.

“We just can’t get down 21-4 in the first quarter,” he said.

That’s what happened against the Raiders, who stretched the lead to 37-12 by halftime.

“The mindset when you’re on the road is you have to be in attack mode,” said Crews. “We just couldn’t weather that storm in the first quarter.”


Contact the writer at