12/29/04 — Prep basketball -- Holiday tourneys ready to tip-off

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Prep basketball -- Holiday tourneys ready to tip-off

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on December 29, 2004 1:55 PM

PIKEVILLE - Holiday basketball tournaments come, some go.

But, Charles B. Aycock boys coach David West hopes the interest generated by the lineup of the inaugural Falcon Holiday Tournament will help the event become a staple in area basketball for years down the road.

Along with host Aycock, three other Wayne County schools -- Goldsboro, Rosewood and Wayne Country Day -- will also participate in the tourney that begins tonight. The Cougars and Chargers tip-off at 6 p.m., while the Falcons and Eagles begin at 8 p.m. The consolation (6 p.m.) and championship (8 p.m.) follow on Thursday.

"We wanted the schools to be as close in location as possible. The closer, the more interest there would be," West said. "Getting those four have generated a lot of interest. We are all in the same backyard."

The second-year coach applauded the efforts of his players for helping gather sponsors for the event.

"We wanted our kids to take ownership in this thing and they've responded real well," West said. "This is the first time I've put on a tourney and with officials and security there is a big cost. "That's where the kids have come through."

The Falcons come into their game with Rosewood with a 4-6 overall mark and have won back-to-back Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference games. Junior forward Santavin Poole is leading the way with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Rob Phillips and Montrel Sims are putting up 14 points each.

Their opponent is sitting at 3-3, but are 0-2 in Class 1-A Carolina Conference play. Danny Langston and Kyle Bunn are scoring over 10 points per game each for Daniel Mitchell's team.

"We are looking at this as a way to continue to improve. We will be playing some good competition and that's what we wanted," Mitchell said. "We hope the break is a time to get better for when we start back conference next week."

The opening game features a pair of clubs with a combined record of 16-3 to start the season with the Chargers at 8-1 and Cougars at 8-2. Both coaches, Randy Tilley (WCDS) and Randy Jordan (Goldsboro) saw the potential in their respective teams in the preseason and hope they can continue to make strides.

The match-up is the first known meeting in history between the two boys programs.

"It's great we are going to have a chance to play Goldsboro," Tilley said. "They've got a lot of good kids and coach Jordan does a good job. We just have to be on top of our game. I'm not surprised we are 8-1, and we are excited about maybe making a run at at a state championship. Playing teams like this can't do anything but help us."

Aycock transfer Spenser Briggs (23 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and former Cougar Adam Wright (18 points, eight rebounds, four assists) have been the catalysts for Tilley's Chargers.

The young Cougars have five players scoring near or above double-figures -- Daquan Joyner (17.7 points), Tim Kornegay (19.4), De'onta Anderson (11), Raheem Loftin (10) and Tavon Waters (9.4). Joyner is averaging a triple-double, adding 13 boards and 10 blocks per outing.

"We felt from the start that we had a lot of guys who can score. I don't question our fire-power, but our ability to defend, Jordan said. "We've slacked off the last few games defensively, and in our conference we've got to pick it up to get back on that level where we can stop people in crucial situations."

A trio of county girls teams -- Goldsboro, Rosewood and Wayne Country Day, along with Jacksonville -- were set to play in the Wayne Country Day Invitational on Monday, but the recent Winter storm forced play to be pushed back to today.

Jacksonville and the Chargers will open the tournament at 2 p.m. as the Cougars and Eagles battle at 4 p.m. Thursday's consolation and championship are also at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

In LaGrange, three area schools will participate in the Kinston Free Press Holiday Tournament. Eastern Wayne's girls and boys take on South Lenoir at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. Spring Creek and North Lenoir's girls clash at 4 p.m., while the Gators and Hawks boy's teams are slated for the 8 p.m. game.