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Bouquet of Roses at the Pete for Southside

Southside’s Grace Anne Rose powers to the basket as teammate Laylah Davis gives support during their Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Jacksonville, AL – Southside senior makes the most of chance to shine, and Panthers down Moody to gain another shot at a Northeast Regional final.

By Joe Medley

On Valentine’s Day plus one, Moody opted to give Southside a rose. Grace Anne Rose turned it into a bouquet.

Rose’s game-high 25 points, including 17 of Southside’s first 19, powered the Panthers to a 56-45 victory in Thursday’s Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinals in Pete Mathews Coliseum.

Southside (25-5) advanced to the regional final for the second year in a row and second time in program history. Hoping to make their first Final Four, the Panthers play the Scottsboro-Springville winner Wednesday at 9 a.m.

“Ultimately, this year, coming into this game, I think, it was, expect to win instead of a hope to win,” Southside coach Justin Bowen said. “Coming in last year, I think it was hope. With the first time being here, it was ‘hope to win.’

“This year, we expected to win.”

The game played out before a packed “Pete,” and Southside’s student section heeded the call for a “whiteout.” They filled the north end with a white-shirted section to rival Mountain Brook’s famous walls of tennis-ball green.

“Being able to come back here and do it again, especially having our cheering section just cheer us on, I just can’t wait to get to the Elite Eight and Birmingham and play there,” said Laylah Davis, who added 17 points for Southside. “It’s so surreal getting to come here and play against these really good teams in front of of everybody, and I’m just glad we were able to do it again this year.”

Moody (28-4) made its second-ever regional appearance, and with a team that, its coach acknowledged, is growing in basketball knowledge to match its athleticism. Southside offered poisons to pick, and Moody head coach Rebecca Davis picked the 3-point line.

“Grace Anne is a phenomenal player, and then they have some shooters that can get it done from the outside,” Davis said. “Our game plan was, if you’re going to beat us, you’re going to beat us with the two, not the three.

“That worked. It gave us a chance to be in the ballgame.”

It also gave Rose lots of pick-and-roll chances with an unclogged lane, and her points bloomed. She scored 12 of Southside’s 14 in the first quarter and 17 of the Panthers’ first 19.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever taken over a game,” Rose said, “but my team really helped me to get the ball when I was open.”

Southside led 29-21 at halftime and built as much as a 51-36 lead with 1:53 to play.

Serenity Rutledge led Moody with 18 points, and Jayla Whitsey added 12.

With another regional-semifinal victory in hand, Southside has six days to prepare to take the next step.

As Southside’s Sarakate Yancey put it, “We’re not done yet.”

 

Southside’s girls take on Moody in a Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal in Pete Mathews Coliseum.

Photos by Joe Medley

Cover photo: Southside’s Grace Anne Rose runs into a ‘whiteout’ as starting lineups are introduced before the Panthers’ Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Southside’s Grace Anne Rose (20) powers to the basket as Laylah Davis gives support during their Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Southside’s Grace Anne Rose goes to the basket during the Panthers’ Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Southside’s Grace Anne Rose goes to the basket during the Panthers’ Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Southside’s Grace Anne Rose shoots a free throw during the Panthers’ Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Southside’s Jovi Marble is fouled going to the basket during the Panthers’ Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Southside’s Madison Shaw saves a ball inbounds during the Panthers’ Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Southside’s Jovi Marble shoots a free throw during Thursday’s Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Southside head coach coach Justin Bowen (left) and assistant Chris Reason yell out instruction during their Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Southside’s bench reacts during the Panthers’ Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Southside’s student section during the Panthers’ Class 5A Northeast Regional semifinal against Moody on Thursday in Pete Mathews Coliseum.

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