Princeton High School was the site for a pair of separately-named basketball tournaments Tuesday night, which enabled a pair of teams who have put together strong starts to the current campaign to keep their momentum going into the upcoming Christmas break.
In the Princeton Holiday Classic, the Midway girls basketball team received strong performances from Leah Williams, who was named MVP, and J.J. Sankey as the Raiders from Spivey’s Corner kept their torrid start to the season going in a 49-30 win over host Princeton
Williams scored 19 points and Sankey, who was also named to the all-tournament team, did a little bit of everything with 10 points, seven rebounds, five steals and five blocked shots.
In the championship game of the Quickshirt.com Holiday Hoops Fest Tournament, J.K. Hines and Javonte Smith stepped up and provided big plays down the stretch to help the South Johnston boys basketball team defeat Midway 54-47.
Princeton Holiday Classic
The Princeton girls basketball team stuck with visiting Midway (8-1) for the game’s first 13 minutes before the Raiders began to pull away.
With 5:17 remaining in the second quarter, Princeton (4-4) cut Midway’s lead to 14-12 on a Jordan Benson layup. After the Raiders regrouped with a timeout, Midway closed out the half on a 10-2 run to take a double-digit lead into halftime.
When Princeton’s leading scorer, Jazmaine McCain was whistled for her fourth personal foul early in the third quarter, the Raiders extended their lead even more. Without McCain in the lineup the Bulldogs lost their dominant inside presence and Midway took advantage at both ends of the court.
Joining Sankey and Williams with supplying the offense was Hannah Lucas, who reached double figures with 11 points, to help stretch the lead for the Raiders.
“Midway’s got a good team and they pushed the ball up the court really well,” Princeton coach Paula Wooten said. “I think we got tired and in foul trouble early which changed the momentum of the game.”
McCain, who also was named to the all-tournament team, finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. Takiria Cummings provided nine points and nine rebounds off the bench.
C.B. Aycock’s Tanika Powell and South Johnston’s Carmen Keene rounded out the all-tournament team selections.
For Princeton, the focus will now shift to Carolina 1A Conference play.
“Conference is what you play the nonconference schedule for,” said Wooten. “We’ve made some improvements from the first game until now even though it didn’t show tonight as much. We’re excited.”
Quickshirt.com Holiday Hoops Fest
In the middle of the fourth quarter, the South Johnston boys basketball team found itself down a basket and needed a spark on the offensive end to solve a tough Midway half court zone defense.
Trojans coach Brody Massengill drew the play up for his best player, Javonte Smith, to get the ball and the senior did not disappoint. Smith got the ball at the top of the key, spun and drove hard to the basket where he finished with a layup while drawing a foul.
Although Smith missed the free throw, teammate J.K. Hines grabbed the miss and found Smith again for a quick layup to take the 42-40 lead.
Hines made sure South Johnston (8-3) didn’t trail again as he connected on a pair of 3-pointers on the Trojans’ next two possessions to help South Johnston finally pull away from the pesky Midway squad.
“I think they were big for me and big for the team,” Hines said of his shots. “They had some pretty tough defense. They didn’t slack off any; they pressured us the whole game.”
Smith led all scorers with 16 points and was named the tournament MVP. Hines was also named to the all-tournament team for the Trojans.
South Johnston methodically built a nine-point lead by the early stages of the third quarter before the Raiders got back into the game. Greg Orr did the damage from the outside while Austin Raynor and Colby Pope proved to be tough inside with the trio combining for 13 points in the third quarter alone to make it a one-possession game.
Pope gave Midway (5-4) just its second lead of the game at 40-38 midway through the fourth quarter on a dish from Orr before South Johnston closed out on a 16-7 run.
Orr, also named to the all-tournament team, led the Raiders with 15 points while Raynor and Pope added 12 and eight points, respectively.
Jacob Thornton had nine big points while DeParis Patterson and Sauyer Roberts each added seven for the Trojans.
“This was a big win for our program right there because we ain’t got so many of them (trophies) at South Johnston now,” said Massengill. “That was a big deal for us.”
Princeton’s Colby Sullivan and C.B. Aycock’s Semaj Yelverton were also named all-tournament.