Let the holiday games begin

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 22, 2003

AHOSKIE – They may not be the teams to beat, but they are.

Bertie High School’s varsity boys and Hertford County High School’s varsity girls come into Friday night’s opening of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic as the defending champions.

They will get their opportunity to defend those titles beginning Friday night at Hertford County High School when the Classic tips off for the 2003 season.

Despite not grabbing the tournament’s top hardware since 1998, Calvin Moore’s club knocked off Gates County (83-64) before upsetting Northampton County High School – East 83-78 in the finals to win the Holiday Classic.

On the other side of the bracket, Joan McCullough’s Lady Bears had not won the tourney held in their own gym since placing first in consecutive years (1996 and 1997) when the ladies were added to the Classic.

McCullough’s team knocked off Northampton-East (60-33) in the opening round before outlasting Bertie 59-56 in the championship game.

This year a pair of new varsity boys’ skippers will head to Ahoskie as Interim Head Coach Tony Hoggard will guide Bertie while Anthony Black is the rookie skipper for Northampton-East.

The two teams who made up last year’s championship game will face-off this season in the opening round at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

The other boys’ opener will feature Hertford County facing off against Gates County. That contest is slated for 8 p.m. on Friday night.

The Bears have not claimed the title at the Classic since 2000, but Charles Simmons’ team will head into the tourney with a near-perfect 8-1 mark (pending tonight’s game with James B. Hunt) and are the all-time Classic champions with nine titles.

Meanwhile, the Red Barons come into this year’s Classic looking for their first-ever tournament title.

In varsity girls’ action, both opening round games are slated for Friday evening, as Bertie will square off against Northampton-East at 5 p.m. followed by the Gates County-Hertford County matchup at 6:30 p.m.

Gates County finished third last year, outlasting Northampton-East 56-34 in the tourney’s Consolation Game.

The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic will be in its 13th season pitting four area schools in hoops action. The girls’ games were added in 1996.

&uot;We are pleased to once again be sponsoring this event that allows some of our local teams to show off their skills against each other,&uot; News Editor Cal Bryant said. &uot;This tournament is something that people all over the Roanoke-Chowan area look forward to each holiday season.&uot;

After the first-round games, the girls consolation game will be played Saturday night at 6 p.m. Monday evening’s games will feature the Boys Consolation game at 5 p.m., the Girls Championship Game at 6:30 p.m. and Boys Championship Game at 8 p.m.