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The 46th annual John Wall Holiday Invitational, a fan favorite event through the years for high school basketball fans, begins Wednesday. All boys games are at Broughton’s Holiday Gymnasium. The girls play at Cary Academy, except for the championship game, which is at Broughton.
Here’s what you need to know heading into the tournament.
▪ Getting tickets: You can only experience the games live, so don’t ask about streaming. Tickets are $12, which is good for all day, and are only sold at the gate. Kids 8 and under get in for $6.
▪ How are the brackets broken up?: There are three eight-team brackets, two for boys and one for girls. The two boys brackets are named after current NBA players T.J. Warren (Durham) and David West (Garner). Both brackets have a good mix of private- and public-school players, with more out-of-state teams in the Warren (three) than the West (one).
▪ Daily schedule: The tournament spans four days, Wednesday through Saturday, but teams will only play on three of those days. The first game of each day starts at 10:30 a.m., except on the tournament’s first day. The result is that the Warren bracket will have one of its four matchups on Wednesday, three on Thursday, and the semifinals on Friday. Follow along at nando.com/preps for updated scores and schedules.
▪ Vernon Carey Jr., University School (Fla.): The top-ranked player in the Class of 2019, Carey put on a dunking exhibition for the fans last season during his first appearance in the John Wall Holiday Invitational. Carey has local schools Duke and UNC on his top five.
▪ Coby White, Greenfield School: The UNC commit leads the state in scoring, averaging 32 points per game. This will be his second trip into Wake County this season. Last month, White scored a season-high 46 points against Garner in the Millbrook Showcase.
▪ Joey Baker, Trinity Chrisitan: The Duke commit (Class of 2019) is the No. 22 ranked junior according to 247Sports. Baker, a five-star prospect, might be the best pure shooter in the tournament.
▪ Kyree Walker, Hillcrest Prep (Az.): The 6-4, 210-pound shooting guard is ranked the No. 5 sophomore in the country by ESPN and has already committed to coach Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State program.
▪ Jalen Lecque, Christ School: The 6-4, 185-pound shooting guard is a high-flying dunker who’s put together some must-see highlights already this year.
▪ Julian Newman, Downey Christian (Fla.): This 5-7, 133-pound sophomore is already being compared to Stephen Curry. He has 3,000 career points (his varsity career started in fifth grade).
Top local teams
▪ Heritage: The Huskies are the defending champions of the David West bracket, but get the defending champs of the T.J. Warren bracket – Hillcrest Prep – in the first round of this year’s Warren bracket.
▪ Broughton: The host Capitals, ranked third in The N&O area rankings. are undefeated entering the tournament and face Newman and his Downey Christian team to open.
▪ Garner: The Trojans have lost just once this season, and it came on a last-second putback against defending 4A East champion Leesville Road. Garner already has wins against Greenfield School and Heritage (twice).
Top girls teams
▪ Heritage: The Huskies won the girls bracket last year and return almost the entire team. Heritage has just one loss this year.
▪ Neuse Christian: The Lions are currently No. 2 in The N&O area rankings. They play No. 1 Southeast Raleigh in the first round.
▪ Southeast Raleigh: The undefeated Bulldogs were the 4A runner-up last year and are nationally-ranked by USA Today.
Daily schedule available at nando.com/preps
David West Bracket
Broughton vs. Downey Christian (Fla.), 1:45 p.m.
Greene Central vs. Christ School, 3:30 p.m.
Kinston vs. Greenfield School, 5:15 p.m.
Garner vs. Trinity Christian, 7 p.m.
T.J. Warren Bracket
Word of God vs. Wesleyan Christian, 8:30 p.m.
Cannon School vs. IMG Academy (Fla.), 28, 3:30 p.m.
Panther Creek vs. University School (Fla.), 6:50 p.m.
Heritage vs. Hillcrest Prep (Ariz.), 8:30 p.m.
All games are at Cary Academy - except the championship game, which is at Broughton.
Heritage vs. Northwood Temple, 11 a.m.
Southeast Raleigh vs. Neuse Christian, 12:30 p.m.
Mallard Creek vs. Wesleyan Christian, 2 p.m.
Cary vs. Hillside, 3:30 p.m.