Inaugural contest was a smash hit

Published 11:16 am Monday, April 23, 2012

Last Saturday this newspaper along with the Daily Herald in Roanoke Rapids sponsored the inaugural Roanoke River Rivalry. The event was a pair of basketball games featuring the All-Roanoke-Chowan Teams chosen by this newspaper and the All-Area Teams chosen by the Daily Herald.

The event came about from a suggestion made to me several years ago by Shane Tripp of Bethel Christian Academy. We have talked about it for a couple of years, but I really worked on it this year because he is a senior.

We never really knew how it would work and I discussed the game as a possibility to a couple of other newspapers before Jonas Pope of the Daily Herald jumped on the idea and we worked out our first game.

I thought both teams represented their newspapers, high schools and themselves very well. There was a lot of fun and a lot of camaraderie amongst all the players. I was thoroughly impressed by how well the young men and women from our team worked together.

Some of you may have noticed that our independent and Christian schools wore their own jerseys while the public schools did not. This was, unfortunately, our only effort in meeting the rules of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

It is their policy that All-Star games may be played, but the uniforms the student-athlete wears at his or her school cannot be worn. That was why we saw Dashanna Duggins, whose attire usually consists of the red and white of Gates County High School, wearing a Ridgecroft School jersey.

While we wish those student-athletes had been able to play their final prep game wearing their own jersey, we understand the NCHSAA and its rules and did our best to abide by them.

Those rules are also why three of our top players didn’t take the floor Saturday. Jquwan Ruffin and Brandi Burden of Hertford County and Tyessence Martin of Bertie High School are all underclassmen and therefore were not eligible to play under NCHSAA rules.

Hopefully, they will get the chance to represent our squad when they are seniors. All of them are good players who certainly deserved to be out there amongst the best in the region.

Our two head coaches – Susan Oliver of Ridgecroft School and Charles Simmons of Hertford County – did an admirable job. Both of them made sure all of our student-athletes had the opportunity to play, but made sure our teams competed.

They, along with Tommy Tripp of Bethel Christian Academy, Doug Cobbs of Ridgecroft School and Jeff Ramsey of Hertford County High School, did a great job of leading our teams. I am grateful for their work and their efforts.

I am also appreciative of Hertford County High School for hosting the first event. Coach Simmons and his staff did an excellent job of playing host. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who was out there helping, especially Paul Moore, Sylvia Anthony, Ashley Fountain and Carol Swain.

Most of all I am thankful for the student-athletes who spent time and effort to participate in the contest. They did an outstanding job and I couldn’t have been more proud.

We look forward to being back on the court and raising additional funds for a new charity next year.


Thadd White is Managing Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached via email at or by telephone at 332-7211.