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Hawks start winning at right time

This season hasn’t been a fun one for the boys’ basketball team at South Side High School.

The Hawks – typically a contender for the state championship struggled through their entire season before getting into District 12-3A play with one win.

Their win over South Gibson to open district play was their second win, and then their victory of Liberty three days later was No. 3.

They came close to Win No. 4 the following Monday before falling to district-leader North Side on a last-second shot. They lost in similar fashion to South Gibson on Friday as they couldn’t get the lead back after the Hornets hit a shot in the final minute.

But ask the Hawks, and they’re not panicking. They’re not feeling down about the record. They’re not proud of three wins early in February, but they know they’ve learned lessons along the way that are helping them now.

“In the beginning, a lot of us were thinking about ourselves and not really listening to our coaches,” said freshman Semion Graham. “And it took us a few games for some of us to realize we don’t know everything and what the coaches are telling us can help us.”

The team is made of nothing but sophomores and freshmen this season. While most basketball fans in the area realize that and expect South Side to return to its spot among the state’s elite in the next year or two, the players are following the lead of head coach DaMonn Fuller in not wanting to wait a year or two before South Side basketball is a top team again.

“We need a little more discipline and to listen to the coaches a little more than what we were, and that makes a lot of difference,” said sophomore Robert Liggins. “We can even see [in the loss to South Gibson] the times in the game when we fell behind were the times we didn’t play disciplined basketball.

“We didn’t play South Side basketball. But when we did settle down and play the way we’re supposed to, that’s when we were beating them. So we see the difference.”

The good thing for the Hawks and everyone in the district is they know they’re automatically in the Region 6-3A tournament because there’s only four teams in the district.

So the final week of the regular season is seeding for the district, which the Hawks are probably going to finish second or third and have a third game against South Gibson to start the tournament.

Then that district tournament is seeding for the region quarterfinals, and a win in the district semifinals secures the Hawks one more home game.

“That’s one thing we’ve talked about is that how many games we won or didn’t win early in the season don’t matter when the district starts,” Liggins said.

“They really don’t matter now,” Graham said. “As long as we’re learning from our mistakes and getting better, that’s all that matters from early in the season.”

Brandon Shields,

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