Smithfield: Sports

A deeper perspective on conference decision making gained

Garner tailback Anthony Barbour (43) runs during a game in 1987.
Garner tailback Anthony Barbour (43) runs during a game in 1987. 1987 News & Observer File Photo

I sat in on the Two Rivers 3A Conference meeting on rescheduled games because of the storm Wednesday morning and it was a great learning experience. It was my first time doing this, even though I had an idea of how things get decided from getting second-hand information on why decisions were made over previous years.

I chronicle the results of that meeting in another story, but I was impressed with the way the athletics directors worked together to do what was best for their conference as a whole, also their school, but mainly the student-athletes who would be most impacted by their decisions.

Special consideration was given to keeping as many “Senior Night” events as possible intact because those mean so much to players and their families.

I came away from the experience thinking that it was another sign of the great leadership I think our schools have. And I’m sure something was decided that might make you wonder why, but trust me there was good reason behind it.

Hurricane impact on facilities: Damage to area high school athletic fields was limited from Hurricane Matthew, considering what might have been. West Johnston lost part of its welcome board and Cleveland had its baseball field netting damaged and part of the outfield baseball fence blown partially down.

Smithfield-Selma had the top of its baseball scoreboard blown partially off.

Holiday Invitational gets Wall’s name: A tournament that helped John Wall cement his reputation as one of the best high school basketball players in the nation a decade ago will carry the former Garner High and Word of God Christian standout’s name beginning the December.

The longest running prep basketball tournament in the nation — entering its 45th year — will be the John Wall Holiday Invitational for the next five years with sponsorship from the John Wall Family Foundation. The tournament’s sponsorship has changed a few times during the past decade.

The John Wall Family Foundation works to improve the quality of life for underserved families through mentorship, education and physical activity.

The event traditionally features some of the best players from around the Triangle area and some of the top teams and recruits from across the nation each year and is based at Broughton High School’s historic Holiday Gym. The tournament is set for Dec. 27-30 this year. Garner and Clayton’s boys teams and Southeast Raleigh’s girls team have played in the event in recent years.

Wall, a three-time NBA All-Star with the Washington Wizards, played in the tournament with Word of God in 2007 and 2008, earning MVP honors in 2007.

Play to remember 1987 championship team: The next musical in a series of local productions to honor the history of Garner from Tim Stevens will feature Garner High School’s run to the 1987 state football championship. “87: One School. One Team. One Championship.” is set for March 30-31 at the Garner Performing Arts Center.

The first two Stevens directed and written plays were “War at Your Door” about Garner in the Civil War and “More Than A Name” about Garner during World War II.

I talked with Tim about his ideas for the play a couple of months ago and his potential approaches to how the play would take shape. They all made an already appealing story sound even more appealing in the play/musical format.

Ticket information will be available at a later date. We’ll pass it along when we have it.

I’m already predicting the need for more than two showings if the cast and crew can pull it off.