Carter Collins scored 37 points as East Chapel Hill claimed the championship of the Yellow Jacket Holiday Basketball Classic, defeating Landon School of Bethesda, Md., 83-60 on Wednesday night.
Playing in the invitational tournament at Lee Senior High School in Sanford, East Chapel Hill started 5-of-6 from the field to jump out to a 13-2 lead, and the Wildcats (11-1) never trailed in the game.
Landon (6-3) was led by Donnell Frayer with 21 points.
Collins, a junior, scored 99 points in victories over Northwood, Union Pines and Landon to earn tournament MVP honors. East’s Clay Watkins and Jonathan Runyambo were also named to the all-tournament team.
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After Collins scored 24 in the first half, the Bears tried double-teaming East’s leading scorer in the 2nd half to no avail. Collins finished with six assists and seven rebounds as the Wildcats (11-1) earned its first holiday championship since winning the Yellow Jacket Classic in 2008.
“The big thing with Carter is he’s really efficient,” said East coach Ray Hartsfield. “It’s not like he’s doing more than you want him to do. He does a really good job of finding his offense within the flow of our offense. When you’ve got a kid like that, you’ve OT to utilize him.”
Runyambo scored 17 points in the championship game.
A native of Nigera whose original sport is soccer, Runyambo finally took up basketball at the start of the 2014-2015 season after years of pleading by Hartsfield.
“He’s turning into a basketball player,” said Hartsfield.
Winners of six straight games since a 49-45 loss at Durham Jordan in their first PAC-6 game of the season, the Wildcats return to conference play on Tuesday against Northern Durham.
“We know how strong the PAC-6 is,” East Coach Ray Hartsfield said. “We felt like the Jordan game slip past us. Our guys are really confident we can defend and control the pace of the ballgame. We’re going to control the pace. We’re going to enjoy this and get ready for Northern next week. I feel like we’re in the mix. January is going to be a lot of fun.”
Northwood girls win
Northwood won the Yellow Jacket girls tournament with a 52-49 victory Wednesday over the host Yellow Jackets of Lee County.
Northwood's Kristian Eanes hit a 3-pointer from the wing with 10 seconds remaining to give the Chargers a 50-49 lead, answering a 3-pointer by Lee's Shantel Bennett with 23 seconds left that took a 49-47 lead for the Yellow Jackets.
Lee had a chance to take the last shot, but it was taken away on an illegal screen violation.
Northwood's Jazmine Atkins led the team with 13 points. Billings had 12 while Eanes finished with 11.
Bennett led Lee County (9-3) with 19 points. Amoria Neal-Tyson registered 14.
Billings was named tournament MVP. Eanes, Atkins, Bennett and Neal-Tyson were named to the all-tournament team.
There were 12 lead changes and 53 turnovers. Northwood was even held to five points in the second quarter - all free throws.
"They did a great job taking us out of our game," said Northwood coach Cameron Vernon. "They came out and set the tone. I think three-fourth of the game they wanted it more."
The Chargers improved to 11-2 overall, while Lee County fell to 9-3.
Northwood returns to Big 8 Conference action Tuesday with a 7 p.m. game at J.F. Webb.