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Boys get off to good start

Hoop fans got their first glance at some of the local prep teams last Saturday at the first Roanoke-Chowan News Herald Scrimmage & Media Day.

As Thadd White and Heather Odom handled the girl’s teams at Ridgecroft, our newest Sports Writer Curly Morris and I prepared for scrimmages and team photos of the guys at Hertford County High School.

We wanted all of our local teams to not only get some early media exposure but also have the opportunity to play some teams they normally wouldn’t have the chance to play.

Because this was our first time sponsoring such an event I had some fears regarding how far we would get in the day before disaster struck.

My fears as it turned out were unnecessary as Hertford County Athletic Director and head basketball coach Charles Simmons did an outstanding job of hosting the event.

The first teams to take the court were the Warriors of Ahoskie Christian School and Northeast Academy.

The Warriors, coached by Bill Mitchell, looked much improved from their 6-11 posting last season.

Ahoskie Christian ran the court very well and surprised many with their energy on both ends of the court.

The Warriors are a young team with only one senior and one junior.

I expect they will only get better and better as the season continues.

NEA head coach John Brown on the other hand will look to his seniors to lead a team coming off a successful 21-4 outing last season.

The Eagles began the match slowly as they struggled to find their rhythm.

It did not take long however before Brown’s squad found their style of play.

The Eagles were efficient in their half court offense and got quite a few second chance opportunities as they effectively crashed the boards both offensively and defensively.

Look for Coach Brown and his Eagles to have yet another successful season.

Due to circumstances beyond their control, Lawrence Academy was forced to cancel their trip to Ahoskie for a match up against the Falcons of Bertie High School.

Ahoskie Christian’s Bill Mitchell volunteered to have his squad go two quarters against the Falcons and may have been their most impressive during the span, despite being obviously overmatched.

Calvin Moore has returned to the helm of Bertie’s basketball program and his effect on the team was apparent immediately after tip off.

In what can only be described as Coach Moore style basketball, the Falcons were relentless on defense as they trapped and hounded the Warriors each time they touched the ball.

If the Falcons will have a problem this season it will be putting the ball in the basket.

Bertie has struggled offensively in recent years but some new faces combined with more experienced veterans may take care of that problem.

It’s early in the season and they only played 24 minutes but I look for the Falcons to surprise some teams this year.

The afternoon brought the host Bears to the court against the Hurricanes of Northampton-West.

West head coach Jerome Williams is looking to improve on last years 7-15 season and from what I saw, that should not be a problem.

The Hurricanes were extremely physical in the paint, crashing the boards and contesting all shots. Their intense style of play should prove to be highly effective provided they stay out of foul trouble.

This may be a turn around season for basketball fans in Gaston.

The Bears can be described with one word…loaded.

Head coach Charles Simmons has more than enough talent and may find his biggest problem to be finding enough minutes for all his players.

The Bears ran the court extremely well and distributed the ball better than I expected given their surplus of scorers.

With a squad this loaded with talent, they may find their biggest challenge to be overconfidence.

This just might be the season basketball fans in Hertford County have been waiting for.

The final match up of the day brought Bethel Assembly Christian Academy to the court against Ridgecroft.

In what may have been the best scrimmage of the day, both teams went back and forth refusing to give any ground to their new opponent.

The Eagles impressed many with their defensive intensity, forcing the Rams to settle for outside shots for much of the contest.

The Rams answered with stellar defensive play of their own, especially in the second half as they effectively shut down the Bethel offensive attack.

If they continue the season with the same kind of fervor they began it with, I expect both of these young squads to improve drastically as the year goes on.

As is the case for most of the teams participating last Saturday, their level of success this season is up to them.