Southern sees improvement despite loss to Franklinton

Jan. 11, 2014 @ 06:27 PM

A late run got Southern Vance back in the game, but the Raiders didn’t have enough in the tank to pull out a win.

Southern trailed Franklinton Friday by as many as 17 points before falling 68-59.

“I think we looked exhausted because we had to work so hard to come back from 17,” said Southern head coach Greg Ackles. “You can’t get down to any basketball team and be down 17 and think you’re just going to come back and win.”

The Raiders (5-7, 2-2 Northern Carolina Conference) trimmed the lead to 3 points in the fourth quarter, but Franklinton (9-3, 4-1) quieted the rally and controlled the final four minutes of play.

Southern outscored Franklinton 37-33 in the second half.

Ackles, in his first season as head coach, likes the improvement he is seeing from his team and especially senior Ty-Traveon Roberts, who entered Friday averaging 16.8 points and 10.2 rebounds. Roberts finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds Friday.

“He’s a pure athlete and he’s an animal,” said Ackles. “He just wants the ball.”

The Raiders’ leading scorer said he draws motivation to crash the boards from something he heard former N.C. State player C.J. Leslie say.
“That’s his ball,” Roberts said of Leslie. “He wants it more than anybody else. It’s all about want-to.”

Ackles wants to see the Raiders attack the basket and penetrate zone defenses more consistently.

Franklinton cracked Southern’s zone early on Friday, jumping out to a 17-6 lead after one quarter. The Red Rams led 35-22 at halftime.

“I don’t think our rotations were as fast as they needed to be,” said Ackles. “You have to give them credit in the first half. They can stroke it.”

Malik Sanders and Tykwan Crudup each had 15 points for Franklinton.

Qualik Shearin had three 3-pointers for the Raiders and finished with 12 points. Shawn Henderson scored five of his six points on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter to get Southern within 3 points.

Ackles said the Raiders have improved significantly from the preseason. Roberts attributes that to playing together.

“At first we used to have individuals, now we’re starting to come closer as a team,” said Roberts. “We’re playing together and the more we get together, the more you see us improving.”

Southern will get together Friday in Warrenton with league rival Warren County.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.