Leesville Road’s boys basketball team has played three overtime periods in its last two games. The Pride defeated Broughton 66-58 in overtime last Tuesday before falling to Sanderson 70-65 in two overtimes on Thursday.
“I love the group I have. They’re a great basketball team, could be a really special basketball team, but they’re better people,” Leesville coach Russ Frazier said. “I enjoy their company more than the basketball part, they’re great kids.”
Some area holiday basketball tournaments won’t wait until after Christmas to begin.
The Deacon Jones Invitational, at Princeton, concludes Tuesday. Midway, C.B. Aycock, Princeton and South Johnston make up the four-team field in both boys’ and girls’ basketball. The girls’ title game is at 6 p.m. and the boys’ is at 7:30 p.m.
Middle Creek’s boys basketball team is traveling to Northwest Guilford for two games in a round-robin tournament. The Mustangs play Tuesday against North Rowan and Wednesday against Northwest Guilford.
Triton’s basketball teams are playing the first of their two tournaments at Hobbton for the Kenny Bass Holiday Classic with the championships on Tuesday. East Duplin, Hobbton and Clinton round out the rest of the field.
Millbrook’s boys basketball team forfeited Tuesday’s 68-58 win over Wake Forest after one of its players was deemed ineligible. It was self-reported by the school, and it was the only game the unnamed player appeared in this season.
Two lengthy losing skids were snapped last week.
Person’s girls defeated East Chapel Hill 66-54 to end a 55-game losing skid in the PAC-6 4A Conference, which dated back to Jan. 20, 2012.
Western Harnett’s girls defeated Lee County 37-27 to stop a 56-game losing streak. The Eagles hadn’t won since the 2014 season opener.
Broughton’s boys and girls basketball teams are lacking experience. Combined, the boys and girls teams have just five seniors, and only four who were on the team a year ago.
“We battle real hard, we play hard, we don’t always play smart,” girls coach Mikeal Loutzenheiser said. “We tend to have peaks and valleys in games. We’ve got to find a way to work through adversity without imploding. ... It’s something we’re working on, hopefully we continue to get better at it.”
The boys’ team has showed fight in “quality losses” to Cap-8 foes Leesville Road and Millbrook.
“It was great to see our team battle and battle and not give up until the bitter end,” said boys’ coach Jeff Ferrell after the Leesville Road game. “I will say I think that we really, really thought we were going to win that in regulation and we didn’t, and that was kind of a downer for us, and that kind of spilled over.”
Putting up numbers
There are 12 boys and four girls in The N&O area who are averaging more than 20 points per game.
Boys: Louisbug’s Andreas Wilson (34.7 points per game), Farmville Central’s Tyler Maye (30.3), Word of God’s Blake Harris (26.7), Orange’s Connor Crabtree (23.3), Rocky Mount Prep’s Kalil Baker (23.8), Heritage’s Jayden Gardner (23.0) Overhills’ Josh Richmond (22.8), Durham Academy’s Jorden Davis (22.0) Kestrel Heights’ Javier Rogers (21.9) East Chapel Hill’s Carter Collins (21.7), Ravenscroft’s Ian Dubose (21.3) and Roxboro Community’s Phineas Little (20.4).
Girls: East Chapel Hill’s T.J. Johnson (22.7), Neuse Christian’s Izabela Leite (22.3), N.C. School of Science and Math’s Rachel Ruderman (22.0) and Durham Academy’s Izzy Strigel (21.0).
Heritage junior Jayden Gardner surpassed the 1,000-point mark last week. Gardner, a 6-foot-7 forward, is the school’s only player to reach the mark.
Garner’s Alex Reed enters the week 17 points away from becoming the 12th in school history to join the 1,000-point club.
Pinecrest and Union Pines hadn’t played one another in six years but Friday’s game was worth the wait. In a standing-room-only gym, Union Pines’ girls and Pinecrest’s boys each stayed undefeated.
Vikings senior Nyona Shields, who led her team with 20 points, summed it up best.
“We really had to keep our composure tonight, because we usually never see a crowd this big,” Shields said.
Tatum adjusting to PG
Last season Cary’s Donte Tatum was a slashing two-guard for the 4A runners-up. This year, after starting point guard Darrion Burnett tore his knee in football season, Tatum has to lead the Imps from the point.
Tatum assisted to Elijah Idlett on the game-winning 3-pointer to beat Athens Drive in overtime on Thursday.
“As I was about to break them down, I saw Eli’s man come help on ‘D’ and I trusted Eli, he’s a good player so I kicked it to him and he made the shot,” Tatum said.
Idlett added: “My job was to get in the corner … and I work so hard to hit big shots and that’s what I do, man.”
Out of nowhere
The Overhills boys basketball team (9-0) is getting big boost from Josh Richmond, now averaging more than 20 points per game. Richmond, a senior, is a late bloomer who didn’t play often last season.
“I was staying in the gym all summer and now things are working for the better,” Richmond said. “I was doing the Denzel Valentine shooting drill.”
If Rolesville’s Jaylin Powell set the tone for the Rams girls basketball team then Valencia Carroll was the closer as Rolesville (7-6, 2-2) never trailed in its history-making 54-39 win over East Wake. It was the first time Rolesville had beaten the Warriors (9-3, 2-2).
Powell scored six points and pulled down eight rebounds in the opening quarter alone, and Carroll exploded in the second half, pouring in 17 of her game-high 20 points over the final 16 minutes.
“The first in program history – it was a long time coming,” Rolesville coach Clinton Williams said of the victory over East Wake. “They are a great program and very well-coached and so to get the first one feels good.”