NEA hosts tourney

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 28, 2004

LASKER n It's been six years since the inception of the Greater Lasker Shootout.

Each year Northeast Academy Athletic Director Joella Brown brings together a slate of quality basketball games for the Shootout and this year is no exception.

The Eagles will welcome Ridgecroft School, Southampton Academy, Brunswick Academy and Roanoke Rapids High School to the friendly confines of their home court.

The round-robin affair will see the girls from NEA and Ridgecroft alternate nights playing Southampton and Roanoke Rapids while the varsity boys from those two schools will meet Southampton and Brunswick.

"I think the entire tournament will be competitive," Brown said. "On the girl's side, Roanoke Rapids and Southampton both have tall teams and Ridgecroft also has a girl over six feet tall.

"We'll be the shortest team in the tournament and I think it will be interesting to see how we all match up against each other," she added.

The tournament begins tomorrow evening (Wednesday) when the Lady Eagles host Southampton Academy in a non-conference rematch from earlier in the season. The second game will be a varsity boys contest, tentatively scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in which Ridgecroft will square off with Brunswick Academy.

At 7 p.m., Ridgecroft's varsity girls will take the floor to meet Roanoke Rapids High School.

The final game of the evening will see Northeast Academy's boys face Southampton Academy.

Brown said she is expecting a quality tournament with the Sykes Family cooking the meals that will be sold at the Shootout and a solid fan base for both local schools in the tourney.

"We usually have a good crowd when we play and Ridgecroft also has a good following, so I think we should have a good turnout," Brown said.

Because of the round-robin nature of the tournament, what would be the featured matchup could not come to fruition.

"I think obviously when the Northeast boys and Ridgecroft boys get to play each other, it should be a great game," Brown said. "Unfortunately, with us being in the same conference, we didn't want to play each other in this tournament and look at the possibility of having to play four times this season."

Still, the contests that are on the slate should interest any local basketball fanatic.

"I think the entire Shootout should be competitive," Brown said. "I personally like that it isn't a championship tournament because you can relax and enjoy playing basketball.

"It gives the coaches a chance to work on some things they want to during the winter break and gives us a chance to play instead of practicing," she added, then laughing, continued, "Not that we're practicing right now because of the snow."

During the tournament second night, which will be Thursday, the schedules will reverse for the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association members.

Northeast will open the girls' play at 4 p.m. Thursday evening when they meet Roanoke Rapids' Lady Yellow Jackets.

The 5:30 p.m. game will see the Ridgecroft boys meet the Raiders of Southampton Academy followed by the Lady Rams facing off with the Lady Raiders at 7 p.m.

The final game of the Shootout will come at 8:30 p.m. when Northeast Academy's varsity boys meet Brunswick Academy.

"Everyone needs something to do over holidays,&uot; Brown said. "It is a good chance to play basketball and give people something to come out and enjoy."

Gates open at 3 p.m. each night. Game times are approximate as each succeeding contest will start 10 minutes after the previous one finishes.