On Wednesday, December 6th, the Manteo Redskins traveled down to Pinetown to face off against the Northside Panthers. While early on in the season, prior to the matchup, neither team had lost a game yet. Both teams came into the game with confidence, but someone would have to lose their undefeated status.
The game started in quick favor of Northside as they were able to knock down their first three-point attempt in the corner, followed by getting in behind Manteo’s press for an easy layup. Manteo would regroup and settle in offensively after coming up short on their first few possessions.
Hendrick Kee would again kickstart the Redskin offense after receiving a skip pass from Erik Bailey and knocking down a step-back three-pointer in the corner. The following offensive possession, Manteo would tie it up at 6-6 as power-forward, Wolfie Schultz, went strong to the rack on a reverse lay-up, netting the And-1.
Manteo dropped into half-court man to man defense, and for the first quarter, it was a back and forth game. The Northside point guard gave the Manteo defense trouble with his quick, shifty handles, driving and dishing, setting up Northside’s post players on the offside. On the offensive end, Manteo was on fire from beyond the arc. Erik Bailey would add three first-quarter three-pointers on top of Kee’s three-pointer.
The first quarter would end with Manteo hanging tough against a big, quick Panther team, down just 20-18.
Manteo started the second quarter by taking a one point lead off a quick corner three-pointer from Bailey, who was really feeling it early on. Manteo would quickly find themselves in serious foul trouble to start the 2nd quarter, as the point guard, Claveon Rice would pick up his third foul in the first minute of the second quarter and have to sit the rest of the half. Wolfie Schultz would also have to sit much of the second quarter due to early fouls.
Northside looked to take control of the game by unleashing their point guard. Everything began to run through Northside’s number 3, and Manteo could not stop him. Northside’s offense exploded in the 2nd quarter scoring 30 points. The Panthers shot a high percentage from outside, but most points came in the paint off drives and dump off passes. If Northside did miss on the offensive end, they often got the offensive rebound and put-back as Manteo did a poor job of boxing out.
As Manteo cooled off from beyond the arc and failed to stop Northside on the offensive end, Manteo found themselves down by 20 going into halftime.
At halftime, Manteo would discuss their tactics and look to do a better job boxing out, controlling the tempo, better ball movement offensively, and take it strong to the rack. However, execution of the tactics was poor in the second half, and Northside continued to roll.
While Manteo was 6 of 15 from beyond the arc in the first half, they were ice cold in the second half, shooting just 1 for 11. Despite instructions to go strong inside, Manteo stayed out of the paint and continued to settle for outside shots. Long rebounds lead to Northside leak outs in transition and easy lay-ups for them. Manteo was digging a hole that would prove impossible to dig their way out of.
The fourth quarter saw Northside continue to increase their lead, as Manteo struggled to link up consecutive defensive stops. The offensive end was better for Manteo as there was much more fluidity in the ball movement, however, they continued to miss easy shots underneath.
In the end, Manteo fell to the Panthers by a disappointing score of 87-44.
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “Facing our first tough opponent, this was certainly an eye-opener for us, as we realize we still have a lot of work to do. I was really disappointed in our defensive effort tonight as it was not the defensive effort and intensity we have been seeing in practices lately. Even though we hung tough for the first quarter, I feel as if we let them beat us mentally before ever stepping on the court. We have the players to compete and win every night, and our team needs to believe that as well.”