The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 26, 2012

Edgecombe County Holiday Christmas tournament preview

Sports Correspondent
Van Holland

TARBORO — The Tarboro Vikings will be hosting the annual Edgecombe County Holiday Christmas basketball tournament this year. The tournament will be held for two days beginning Thursday and the championship games will be played on Friday.

The boys and girls brackets are set and they include the Vikings, the SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars, North Edgecombe Warriors and Riverside Knights.

The first game is slated to begin at 2 p.m. Thursday and will be between the Lady Knights and Lady Cougars. The second game will be boys action between the Knights and Cougars at 4 p.m. The third game of the day will be between the Lady Warriors and the Lady Vikings at 6 p.m. The final game of the day will be the Warriors taken on the Vikings at 8 p.m.

Riverside girls are coming into the tournament undefeated with an 8-0 record and have been beating their opponents by double digits except for two games. The Lady Knights have defeated the Lady Vikings twice this season. Those two could meet in the championship game if both teams win their first game in the tournament.

The Lady Knights are led by junior guard Jalyn Brown. She is avaraging 14.6 points per game. Her teammates, Dabrieka Burnett and D'asya Wilson are helping on the offensive end. They’re both averaging over seven points per game and are both grabbing over six rebounds apiece.

The Lady Cougars on the other hand are trying to find some scoring from their young team. Head coach Sandra Langley has a very young and inexperienced team. They have been troubled by turnovers this season and haven't found a consistent scorer. She has one senior, Dawson Gould, on the roster. The majority of her team is sophomores and freshmen. She also has two juniors.

Ball control and breaking presses have been a problem for the Cougars this season. They are only averaging scoring about 20 points per game. The Lady Cougars are winless and are looking for their first win of the season.

In the second game, the Cougar boys and Knights will battle it out.

The 7-3 Cougars have played in a run and gun offense this season under first-year head Anthony Burns. He is excited about his teams chances and heading into the tournament they have played up to Burns expectations.

Senior captains, Anthony Coley and Javin Hinton have been the floor generals and have led the Cougars offensively this season. Both players are averaging double figures in scoring and are a deep threat on the perimeter.

The Knights have a young team this year and have struggled at times. They have posted a 3-5 record and haven't been able to find any consistent scorers. They try to use their inside presences and rebound the ball well on the offensive end of the floor. The Knights are in somewhat of a rebuilding year under head coach Bobby Williams.

Riverside is the defending tournament champions. They defeated SouthWest last year to win the tournament in what turned out to be a blow out for the second straight year.

The Knights are hoping to come in and repeat their performance, but to do so they have to get by the run and gun Cougars.

The third game of the day will feature a match-up that has been won twice by the Lady Vikings this season. Tarboro has defeated North Edgecombe two times this year, but the games have been close.

Tarboro has a well rounded team that has players that are capable of scoring at any given time, but Lisa Jones has been the go to player. She has been a force with her inside presences this year. She is averaging double figures in points and is grabbing rebounds with authority.

Junior Nyasha Savage has been the main ball handler this season playing the point, but she has been dealing with a dislocated finger on her shooting hand that has slowed her play down some. A'Jah Williams has been a big spark for the Lady Vikings. She has very quick feet and can get up court in front of everyone and turn the transition up several notches to stay ahead of the pack. She has a quick first step.

The Lady Vikings are going to have to get by a pesky group of Lady Warriors who will be looking for revenge since they have been defeated twice this season by Tarboro.

Warrior center MarQuisha Tucker has been the spark plug for the Lady Warriors this season. Her teammate and forward Kayla Booth have been the two leading scorers for the Lady Warriors.

The Scott twins Shanika and Tanika give North Edgecombe the presence from the outside. Point guard Chelsea King gives the Lady Warriors scoring from the perimeter as well. She and Shanika Scott are the top three-point shooters on the team.

The final game of the day will be between Tarboro and the North Edgecombe boys. Tarboro has defeated North Edgecombe twice this season, but it hasn't come easy. The Vikings are averaging over 20 turnovers a game and have been plagued with leadership problems. Head coach Craig Savage is still trying to find a few leaders on the floor to help guide the Vikings. Kelvin Jones is leading the Vikings in scoring. Guard Maliek Hudson has given the Vikings a boost from the outside and has been able to make things happen inside as well.

Tarboro hasn't been able to be consistent on the boards this year. They have been out rebounded by every opponent they have faced this year.

North Edgecombe and first year head coach Mike Jones are trying to find their identities. He has a very young and inexperienced varsity team that has only two players who had varsity experience coming into the season.

The Warriors are being led by Rodney Conyers. He is giving the Warriors an inside and outside presence. He tries to take control of the game and lead the Warriors, but Jones knows he has to slow Conyers down sometimes.