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Nick Brantley Tournament begins Thursday

AHOSKIE – The 11th annual Nick Brantley Memorial Scholarship Tournament begins Thursday.  Opening round games will be played at two sites: Lawrence Academy and Ridgecroft School.  Friday’s games will be played at Ridgecroft, as will Saturday’s championships.

The event, sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty and the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald since its inception, will feature four schools (Ridgecroft, Lawrence, Pungo and Northeast academies) vying for championships in varsity boys, varsity girls, JV boys and JV girls basketball.

The 11th annual Nick Brantley Memorial Scholarship Tournament featuring local schools Lawrence Academy, Ridgecroft School, and Northeast Academy; plus Pungo Christian tip off for a three-day run Dec. 1-3. | File Photo

The 11th annual Nick Brantley Memorial Scholarship Tournament featuring local schools Lawrence Academy, Ridgecroft School, and Northeast Academy; plus Pungo Christian tip off for a three-day run Dec. 1-3. | File Photo

In addition to the three days of basketball, three scholarships are awarded in honor of the tournament’s namesake, Lt. Nick Brantley. Each year scholarships totaling $2,000 are given out during the event’s closing ceremonies.

The awards are presented by Nick’s parents, Keith and Joyce Brantley, and honor the younger Brantley and his contributions as a student-athlete at Ridgecroft School and for serving his country in the United States Navy.

Thursday games at Lawrence, beginning at 4 p.m. will feature Lawrence versus Pungo in four contests (junior varsity girls, j.v. boys, varsity girls and varsity boys)

At the same time (Thursday, 4 p.m.) Ridgecroft will host Northeast as they square off for their four games.

Friday all games move to Ridgecroft with the consolation round beginning at 4 p.m. with j.v. girls followed by j.v. boys.  The varsity consolation games (girls followed by boys) will begin around 6 p.m.

The championships at Ridgecroft will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday with the j.v. girls game, followed by j.v. boys, varsity girls, and varsity boys.  The trophy presentation and awarding of scholarships will follow.

Thomas Nicholas “Nick” Brantley was a two-sport standout at Ridgecroft School who later graduated from Virginia Tech.

Brantley was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy and underwent his flight training at Pensacola, FL Naval Air Station.  He excelled as a pilot and flew both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

After receiving his Wings of Gold, Brantley reported to Mayport, FL for training to fly the SH-60B Seahawk. Upon completion of training, he received the Seahawk Award as the top student in the Fleet Replacement Squadron and rose to the rank of Lieutenant.

Brantley and his crew were killed on Sept. 24, 2005 when their Navy Seahawk helicopter went down off the North Carolina coast during a training exercise.