Two Triangle teams were undone in the championships of the South Granville Holiday Invitational basketball tournament as it concluded Wednesday night.
In the Columbia bracket title, Green Hope was outmatched by a hot-shooting and lightning-quick Village Christian 76-51.
Afterward, in the Navy bracket title, Northern Durham fell to a gargantuan Mountain Mission team out of Virginia 69-64.
Columbia bracket title: Green Hope (10-4) couldn’t keep the pace with the Knights from Fayetteville, but the tournament was a success for the Falcons, which needed a pick-me-up after three conference losses entering the holiday break.
After defeating Jordan 59-57 in the semifinals and Burlington’s Cummings High 57-51 in the first round, the Falcons are back on the right track.
“It was the best set of 16 teams since we’ve started coming here. We played three good teams that are all going to be playoff teams compete for conference championships, make it pretty far,” Green Hope coach John Green said. “Winning the first two games was important. ... It’s just good to come on the road and bounce back after losing three conference games.”
Village Christian’s Jordan Ratliffe had 23 points, hitting several 3s. That was the difference in why Green Hope toppled the first two athletic teams it faced, but not the third.
“I think the guys understand that they can beat anybody, because Jordan and Cummings are really good teams,” Green said. “The big difference was the (Village Christian) shooting ability. The first two teams didn’t shoot it particularly well, but we were just looking at it and Village Christian only missed 3-4 shots in the third quarter.”
Green Hope’s Will Harkins had a team-high 12 points. Alex Clinkscales added eight points and seven rebounds off the bench.
It was Village Christian’s second tournament title in the six years South Granville has held the event.
Other Columbia teams: Jordan rebounded to win the third-place game against host South Granville 64-53, Cummings took fifth place with a 62-60 win against Heritage and Kernersville’s Forest Trail defeated Chapel Hill 57-43 in the seventh-place game.
Navy bracket title: Mountain Mission, a boarding school near the Virginia-West Virginia border, didn’t lack talent or size, as evidenced by 6-foot-11 West Virginia recruit Maciej Bender (23 points) and highly-recruited 6-foot-6 Harold Baruti (19). That allowed the Challengers to jump out to a 22-7 lead after the first quarter on a flustered Northern team.
“We were doing some things that weren’t characteristic of the things we do. We made some adjustments, settled down and started playing,” Northern coach Ronnie Russell said. “I think we were a little shaky to start because of the size.”
But the Knights (10-2) showed the size of their grit, winning the second and third quarters to enter the final period down 43-40.
A 1-3-1 zone invited Mountain Mission to take 3s, and the taller Challengers obliged but missed several. Meanwhile, Northern slashed into the lane and got multiple Mountain Mission players into foul trouble.
Northern tied the game 45-all with 6:55 on the clock in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t quite take a lead.
“We’ve come a long way. This may be the best game we’ve played,” Russell said. “When you get that far behind, it’s hard to come back. But I’m pleased with the way we fought.”
Tajh Small (15 points) and Timothy Bell (13) made the all-tournament team for Northern.
Other Navy teams: Middle Creek claimed the third-place game 69-59 against South Carolina’s Midland Valley, East Wake took the fifth-place game 63-51 against Northern Vance 63-51 and Riverside won the seventh-place game 96-73.