Chapel Hill and Broughton advance in girls Holiday Invitational

CorrespondentDecember 26, 2013 

— The Chapel Hill girls are making their first appearance in the Holiday Invitational high school basketball tournament, and the Tigers look ready to make the best of it.

Raziyah Farrington’s 12 points led three players in double figures as the Tigers took care of Hillside 57-40 in the girls’ portion of the Holiday Invitational on Thursday morning at Cary Academy’s Fitness Center.

The Tigers (9-0), state 3A runners-up last season and the No. 1 team in the News & Observer rankings, have won 36 of their last 37 games. But it was the first time the Big Eight 3A power has beaten erstwhile PAC-6 4A rival Hillside in Ovester Grays’ 18 seasons as the Hornets’ head coach, he said.

Chapel Hill advanced to today’s 2:30 p.m. semifinal game against West Craven, the team it defeated in the Eastern 3A final last season. Hillside will play Cary in the losers’ bracket at 10 a.m.

In other Thursday games, Broughton beat Greensboro Dudley 59-52, West Craven got by Cary 55-49 and West Forsyth eased past Riverside 44-32.

Broughton will face West Forsyth in the other winners’ bracket game at 1 p.m., following Dudley’s losers’ bracket game against Riverside at 11:30.

Chapel Hill 57, Hillside 40

Tamia Eatmon added 11 points and Jamella Smith 10 for the Tigers, who took a quick 12-3 lead and never trailed.

“We’re a team of guards – we have four post players and the rest can all play No. 1,” said Sherry Norris, who has been the Tigers’ coach since 1977 and led her team to the state 4A title in 1981. “Tamia does a good job getting us into our offense and pushing it up the court. She didn’t do as great on her free-throw shooting (5-for-9) as she normally does, but she’s got a jammed finger on her shooting hand. I thought we showed a lot of maturity out there today.”

Morgan State signee Tykyrah Williams had 20 points to lead the Hornets, No. 6 in the N&O ranking, while Justine Lyon added 11.

Hillside (5-2), which is making its seventh appearance in the event and won it in 1995, tied the game once, at 17-17 on Lyon’s three-point play with 6:12 left in the second. The Tigers then went on a 6-0 run.

“I’m not sure Chapel Hill was doing so much,” said Grays, who led his team to a state 4A title in 1996. “We had 19 turnovers and I don’t know how many of them were forced. Our decision-making was horrible, and that was probably the worst game we’ve played all year.”

Eatmon said she was happy with the Tigers’ composure against the Hornets’ press.

“In practice we went over staying composed and making good passes and not dribbling into traps because we knew what was coming,” the junior guard said. “We just had to play our game and do what Coach (Norris) said.”

Broughton 59, Dudley 52

Kalia Ealey’s 23 points, eight rebounds and seven steals led three Caps in double figures as they held off the Panthers.

Mariah Wall added 13 points and Dreamer Crawford 11 for the Caps (8-0), who are ranked No. 4 by the N&O and are looking for their second title in the event.

“Our team really showed a lot of toughness today, because that was a good team we played against – one of the best we’ve played all season,” said Caps coach Brad McCorkle, whose team was the tournament’s runner-up last season. “It’s tough when you have a lead and you lose the lead to be able to hang in there and build it back again.”

High Point signee Kennedy Currie led Dudley (3-4) with 18 points and a whopping 17 rebounds.

Broughton took a 20-6 lead and was up 34-26 at the half before the Panthers made a big run, taking the lead three times before five straight points from Ealey made it 50-46 and put the Caps ahead to stay.

West Craven 55, Cary 49

UNC signee Jamie Cherry was up to the task for the Eagles, pouring in 27 points to help her team to the hard-fought decision.

Cary (8-1), ranked No. 2 by the N&O, fell short despite a 22-point, 24-rebound performance from Duke signee Azura Stevens.

Jasmine Raynor chipped in 11 points for the Eagles (10-0).

“We played a really good team today,” Cary coach Patrick Daly said. “Our goal was to limit as many touches to Jamie Cherry as possible and make it difficult for her to score. We did a good job of that in the first and third quarters, but she came alive in the second and the fourth.”

Both teams went with gimmick defenses at times, with the 5-6 Cherry chasing the 6-5 Stevens early in the game.

“That won’t happen any more,” Cherry said. “I hope I don’t have to guard anybody like that again. Azura is a very good player. She’s tough, and she’s got a lot of inches on me. She missed a whole lot of shots she normally makes, and we just kind of grinded it out and made shots when we needed to.”

The Imps burst out to a 9-0 lead but West Craven took a 30-28 halftime lead on Cherry’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“I played with (Cherry) during the summer, so it was cool,” Stevens said. “My goal is always to just get as many rebounds as I can.”

West Forsyth 44, Riverside 32

The Titans used a balanced effort with nobody in double figures to advance to the semifinals.

Auburn signees Jasmine Jones had nine points and seven rebounds while twin sister Jessica Jones chipped in eight points and 12 rebounds for West Forsyth (9-2).

Kiara Jacobs had 12 points and Mone’ Jones nine for Riverside (7-3), which is No. 11 in the N&O ranking.

The final score was the Pirates’ closest approach in the second half.

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