23rd Holiday Classic begins Thursday

Published 6:50 pm Monday, December 23, 2013

AHOSKIE – The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty will tip off today (Thursday) at the Hertford County High School gym with a dozen teams participating.

“We’re excited to have this tournament and its outstanding sponsors,” said Charles Simmons, athletic director and head boys basketball coach at host, Hertford County High. “We look forward to the tournament every year. It is also great for all the fans of the schools.”

This year’s event features twelve teams. Six girls teams: defending 2012 champion Pasquotank County High, Hertford County, Bertie High, Gates County, Plymouth, and newcomer, Rocky Mount Prep.  The six boys teams will be 2012 champ, Plymouth, along with Hertford County, Bertie, Gates County, and two first-time participants: Pasquotank and Hobgood Academy.

The tournament will open today (Thursday) with four first-round games.

First on the floor in the 4 p.m. game will be the defending girls champion Panthers against the Lady Vikings of Plymouth.  That will be followed by the Vikings boys – hoping for a repeat – going against newcomer, Pasquotank at 5:30 p.m.  The final two games of the night will feature Gates County squaring off with the combination of first-timers Rocky Mount Prep and Hobgood Academy.  The Lady Red Barons will meet the Lady Jaguars from Nash County at 7 p.m. while the Gates County boys will face the Raiders from the Tarheel Independent Conference at 8:30 p.m.

The next night (Friday) will see the semi-finals of the event taking place with the four teams that had byes seeing their first action.

At 4 p.m. the winner of the Pasquotank-Plymouth girls’ game from day-one will meet the Bertie girls; Lady Falcons coach Alice Lyons having won this event multiple times.  Following this game will be the boys’ game winner of Plymouth versus Pasquotank from Thursday meeting the Bertie boys.  Hertford County’s girls’ first game is the feature of the nightcap beginning at 7 p.m., as the Lady Bears face the Gates – Rocky Mount Thursday winner. Hertford County’s boys – a finalist a year ago – will play the winner of Gates – Hobgood to close out the second day of games.

The consolation games will be played beginning on Saturday. Girls losers from the first two days of action will play for fifth-place beginning at 4 p.m.; with the boys who failed to win on Thursday and Friday playing at 5:30.  The nightcap features the third-place games: the losers of the two semi-final girls games will play first at 7 p.m. followed by the losers of the two Friday semi-final boys games tipping off around 8:30.

Monday night Dec. 30 will be Championship Night with the girls’ title game slated for a 6 p.m. tip-off followed by the boys’ championship at around 7:45.

On Championship Night the top two teams will receive their trophies and there will also be the naming of the All-Tournament team.  The Cal Bryant Scholarship – named in honor of the Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald will be awarded to the Most-Outstanding girls’ player and the Charles Simmons Scholarship goes to the Most-Outstanding boys’ player.  Also handed out will be the Richard Murray Sportsmanship Award, named for the former coach and athletic director at the old AhoskieHigh School and first to hold the same posts at Hertford County High. It will be presented to the team that displays the best attitude and effort during the four-day contest.

“I’m looking forward to doing the tournament this year,” said sponsor, Joe Murray, owner of United Country Joe Murray Realty. “I’m looking forward to working with the tournament and hope we will have a good turnout.”

“On behalf of Roanoke-Chowan Publications, we are happy once again to join with Joe Murray Realty to sponsor the Holiday Classic,” said Cal Bryant, RCP Editor. “For nearly 25 years this event has showcased and continues to showcase the best basketball talent in northeastern North Carolina as well as awarding college scholarships to worthy student-athletes.

“Aside from the action on the court, the Classic has also materialized into a social event. With so many of our local residents home for the holidays, and with those coming back to the R-C area at this special time of the year, they come to the Classic to renew old friendships and make new ones,” Bryant added.

Admission is $8 for each day Thursday-thru-Saturday and also for the championship games on Monday. No passes will be honored.