There are a few area high school basketball tournaments on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and all have some intriguing showdowns.
Jordan’s MLK Classic starts with JV games followed by the Falcons hosting the Holly Springs girls at 3 p.m. Next is a game between the Kestrel Heights and Rocky Mount Prep boys at 4:30 p.m. and Jordan vs. Holly Springs boys at 6 p.m.
Kestrel Heights and Rocky Mount Prep are in the ncpreps.com 1A top 10 statewide poll.
Southeast Raleigh and Hillside will clash in a MLK Classic quad: junior varsity games at 1 and 2:30 p.m., the varsity girls at 4 p.m. and the boys at 5:30 p.m.
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Hillside’s girls are ranked No. 1 in the N&O area and Southeast Raleigh is No. 2.
Athens Drive is adding an MLK Classic with five boys games: Broughton and Middle Creek at 12:30 p.m., Ravenscroft and Benedictine Prep (Va.) at 1:45 p.m., Green Hope and Wakefield at 4 p.m, Heritage and Apex at 5:30 p.m. and Enloe and Athens Drive at 7 p.m. Six of those nine in-state teams have been ranked by The N&O at some point this year.
Farmville Central hosts five boys games for its MLK Classic: Williamston’s Riverside vs. First Flight (12:30 p.m.), Terry Sanford vs. Northeastern (2 p.m.), Ayden-Grifton vs. Beddingfield (3:30 p.m.), Greene Central vs. Southern Vance (5 p.m.) and Farmville Central vs. East Carteret (6:30 p.m.).
East Carteret is a yearly 1A title contender, while Farmville won the 2A crown last year.
They said it
“I just told them to keep their head up and keep playing hard because we have a chance to win any game. ... We can beat anybody in our conference.” – Cleveland boys coach John Jacobs.
“People can say ‘Ravenscroft is a little down’ … but we’re getting there. Our kids are learning to play together.” – Ravenscroft boys coach Kevin Billerman.
By the numbers
2: Overtimes as Goldsboro fell to Kinston in boys basketball 88-80 on Wednesday night.
26: Points by Goldsboro’s Jaryan Hargis on Wednesday.
85: Straight conference wins by the Ravenscroft boys.
7: 3-pointers made by Durham Academy’s boys in the first quarter of a loss to Ravenscroft on Wednesday. Charlie Mendys scored 18 points on six 3-pointers.
2: Former Duke women’s basketball teammates when Ravenscroft’s Payton Hobbs and Durham Academy’s Krista Gingrich coached against each other on Wednesday.
“This was a very special night,” Gingrich said. “It was kind of funny because I heard some common calls, I think we were running the same thing, so that was a fun aspect of the night.”
31: Points by Durham Academy’s Izzy Strigel in the 62-57 win.
19: Points each by Erin Hughes and Lynn Johnson for the Ravens girls.
A quick look at schools’ boys and girls teams, together.
Cleveland: The boys (5-12, 0-3 Two Rivers 3A) are staying optimistic despite some close losses, while the girls (8-9, 2-1) seem to be turning the corner now that conference play has begun.
“We’re very young,” coach Chris Danehower said. “We’ve gotten better as the season has gone along. A lot of our younger players are starting to be crucial players and contributing.”
Durham Academy: While the boys were terrific shooting against Ravenscroft, they struggled to rebound. Getting off to a 1-0 start in league play was big for the girls, who are unranked in The N&O area.
“We’ve been faced by a lot of harder teams lately and we’ve learned to fight through,” Strigel said. “As a team, we’ve come together and we play through anything and any obstacle that we can.”
Neuse Charter: The boys (2-11, 0-4 Carolina 1A) are struggling with new faces across the board, while the girls (12-3, 4-0) are first in the league for the first time as a school. Two Cougars – Kiondra Webb and Abby Lampe – have notched triple-doubles this year.
Princeton: The girls (6-5, 3-1 Carolina 1A) are in second place in the league while the boys (6-7, 1-3) were impressive on Wednesday with a 29-point second quarter in a win at Neuse Charter.
“We came out and played hard, and we’re happy with the result,” said senior Austin Sullivan, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds. “We’re still a young team, and this was only my second game back. We’re learning to move the ball together like we did in the second quarter.”
Ravenscroft: The girls are hoping to bounce back in league play after losing a big early lead to Durham Academy. The boys are starting to come together after some tough losses to good teams. Houston Baptist recruit Ian DuBose finished with 27 points and led all players with eight rebounds in Wednesday’s win. The Ravens were able to break down the Cavs’ zone.
“We’re going to have to work hard because everyone is coming for us in conference play,” DuBose said.
Smithfield-Selma: The girls (1-14, 0-2 Two Rivers 3A) are led by Logan Lee, who had 23 points and seven steals in a loss to Cleveland on Wednesday. Coach Stacy Holland said her team lacks experience, but wants someone to take the pressure off Lee. The boys (7-8, 1-1) are aiming for a repeat of the league title.
“In spurts, we did good,” said Spartans coach Matt Cuddington after Wednesday’s win over Cleveland. “There was a spurt there in the second half where we weren’t playing very good but in the second half we came out and decided we were going to play defense and we played better.”
Friday’s top games
Game times vary, usually 5:30 and 7 p.m. for varsity doubleheaders or 6 and 8 p.m. for JV/varsity quads. When the boys and girls play at separate sites, the varsity game times are either 6:30 or 7 p.m.
Friday: Heritage at Broughton; Leesville Road at Wakefield; Cary at Apex; Riverside at East Chapel Hill; Chapel Hill at Southern Durham (boys only); Middle Creek at Panther Creek (boys only); Cardinal Gibbons at Northern Durham; Northern Nash at Nash Central; Farmville Central at SouthWest Edgecombe; Hillside at Person; North Pitt at North Johnston; Rocky Mount at Fike.
Tom Shanahan, Ian Pierno, Ty Johnson and Terrell Wilkins contributed.