The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Sports

December 27, 2013

Holiday basketball classic begins today

PINETOPS — PINETOPS – The annual Edgecombe County Holiday Basketball Classic is scheduled to tipoff at 3 p.m. today inside Sandra Shelton Langley Gymnasium at SouthWest Edgecombe. There are four games slated today and four Saturday, with the girl's championship game set for 6 p.m. and the boy's at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars are the boy's defending champions and the Tarboro Lady Vikings are trying to redeem themselves after being ousted in the title game a year ago by Riverside.

In the first game today, the Lady Vikings (4-3) will play against the struggling Greene Central Lady Rams (1-6). The Rams are riding a six game losing streak coming into the tournament and have had trouble scoring.

Tarboro on the other hand, has played up and down all season and has struggled controlling the ball at times. Their defensive effort has been above average at times and they have forced a large amount of turnovers at times, but had trouble converting those mistakes into points.

In the second game of day one, the Tarboro Vikings will try to find a way to get their first win of the season under the direction of first-year coach Reggie Bess. The Vikings (0-6) will play the Greene Central Rams (5-4), who are on a two game losing skid.

Tarboro has had trouble finding consistent scorers this season and have had trouble turning the ball over. Their closest game of the season was a three point loss in their first game. Since then, they have struggled to play together with consistency on the offensive end.

Bess wants his team to continue to work hard and play through their struggles, hoping things will fall into place for them.

The Vikings will try to get redemption in the classic and earn a spot in the title game after losing by eight last year and finishing as runner-up to SouthWest.

In the third game, the Lady Cougars will try to find a way to beat the North Edgecombe Lady Warriors for the first time this season. The Lady Cougars have lost twice to the Lady Warriors this month and the last time the two teams met Dec. 17, the Lady Warriors forced the game into overtime on a buzz beating three-pointer at the end of regulation. In OT, the Lady Warriors used clutch shooting in the final 30 seconds to overcome two Lady Cougar overtime comebacks.

The winner will earn a trip to the championship game for the first time in numerous years.

In the fourth game, the Cougars are looking to repeat as tournament champions again this year. Two years ago, they lost to Riverside in the title game and last year they defeated Tarboro 64-56 to win the title.

This year, the Cougars will face a very familiar opponent in the semi-final round - North Edgecombe.

The Cougars have beaten the Warriors twice already this month and second-year coach Anthony Burns has his sights set on third time.

The Cougars have been playing fundamentally sound this season donning an 8-3 record coming into the tournament and have won five of their last six games. They are coming off an impressive 82-48 win over Tarboro a week ago.

North Edgecombe on the other hand, is on a six game losing streak and are trying to find balance in their offense. They are a young team with just three returners from last year.

Second-year Warriors coach Mike Jones wants to see his players turn up the defensive pressure on the Cougars and turn Cougar miscues into points.

North Edgecombe has played with their opponents over the last three games, but late in the game they have had trouble scoring and the mistakes started to pile up on them.

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