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Day three of Lash/Chronicle tournament crowns champions

Day three of Lash/Chronicle tournament crowns champions
January 12
11:45 2022

The final day of the Lash/Chronicle Tournament was a time for teams to fight for a championship or to close out their tournament on a positive note with a win.

The opening game of the day was between two 0-2 teams in Reynolds and Andrews. This was an odd game as neither team could hit anything from the field in the first half. It was a one possession game until the fourth quarter, when the Red Raiders finally created a little breathing room. They closed out their tournament with a 34-27 win.

“It was a great game and Reynolds did a great job,” said Reese Hamlin, Andrews’ head coach. “Both teams played good and we are just excited for the win, because we needed it going into conference play next week.”

Parkland and East Forsyth were the second game of the day, a game with two 1-1 teams in the tournament, and both squads played well for the majority of the tournament.

The defensive pressure from Parkland set the tone of the game early on. The game was very intense as everyone could see that neither team wanted to end their day with a loss. After finally settling down, the Eagles took the lead in the second quarter and stretched it going into the half.

East Forsyth didn’t rest on their 31-19 lead. They continued to apply pressure in the second half, until Parkland finally made their run. The Mustangs closed the gap to 45-43 with less than four minutes left in the game, but that would be as close as they would get, as the Eagles closed them out 51-44 to finish the tournament 2-1.

“We just wanted to be active,” said Rodney White, East Forsyth head coach. “We knew they were athletic and fast, but we just tried to come out and play our ball, take care of the ball, and just press as much as we can, because we are small. That was our main goal, to play as hard as we could, get steals, and to carry over from last night into today.

“I told them to just have fun, but take care of the ball. I got to understand that they are all ninth graders, but just calm down, run our stuff, and take care of the basketball. I feel like we have three of the best guards in the county in this tournament right now.”

White says his team was 1-3 coming into the tournament, so to come away with two good victories is great for his team. He says they are more confident and are playing better as a team.

A matchup in The Chronicle Division was on the slate next. Carver, who was 1-1 in the tournament, played Winston-Salem Prep,who was 0-2.  

This game turned out to be one of the best of the day. The lead switched hands multiple times throughout the game, with neither team able to establish any consistent momentum. In the second half, Carver looked to be in control of the game until Jace Covington took over. Covington finished with 27 points and was the major reason for the Phoenix winning 46-44.

“It’s good to have this momentum, because we finally got our first win after we lost some close games we should have won,” said Chesley Graves, Prep head coach. “I think this right here is going to be a big plus for the kids. We finally got that one win in the tournament, so I think this is going to be a good stepping stone for us to go further.”

Covington was one of the leading scorers in the tournament and his 27 points against Carver was the high for any player throughout the tournament. Graves had high praise for Covington.

“He is a smart guard and sometimes even during practice he thinks what I think,” Graves said. “It’s like a point guard/point guard mentality and I love it. He is a tough kid and he is beginning to evolve and learn the game a whole lot more. He can only get better and the future is going to be promising for him.”

Atkins was looking to bounce back from their defeat against South Stokes, while North Forsyth was riding high from their win against Prep the day before. On paper, this seemed like a good matchup with two even teams.

Unfortunately for North Forsyth, the Camels came into the game very focused and that was reflected in their play. Atkins clamped down on defense and did not allow the Vikings’ offense to get on track.

Atkins was never in jeopardy of losing the game and had built a nearly 20-point lead after three quarters. The Camels did not put on the breaks in the fourth quarter and won by the decisive score of 58-20.

“The game plan was to speed up the game with a press and to force bad shots,” said Desmon Baldwin, Atkins’ head coach.  “I think that we have proven that we are a second half team and we need to change that to being a first half team. But like I said before, it’s a stepping stone in the right direction.”

The next game scheduled was the third-place game of the Lash Division between Glenn and Walkertown. This game was a good one from the jump ball.

It was a game of two strategies. Glenn wanted to use their physicality and athleticism, while Walkertown wanted to use their depth and run things through their guards. Both teams were able to implement their game plan and put points on the board.

The momentum of the game swung like a pendulum as neither team could take a lead that was more than a few points. Walkertown took a 31-23 lead at the half, but that didn’t last long, as Glenn came to within a point at 40-39 with 2:45 seconds left in the third.

“I just told them we’re OK; we’ve been there before, we’ve played a lot of tough teams in the previous games, so we have been there before, so just getting them to just settle in and take care of the ball and do what we do,” Walkertown head coach Kenny Anderson said about what he told his team at halftime.

The game continued to be close throughout the fourth. It was a well-coached and well-played quarter with great plays made by both teams. The Wolfpack just made more plays down the stretch to claim third place with a 66-62 victory.

“It was a hard-fought game and those Glenn guys are what we call goliaths; those were some big dudes, man,” said Anderson. “Our guys fought hard, they played together, our bench was able to give us a lot of energy and points in the first half and more importantly, our guards were able to handle that pressure and pull that game out.”

The final two games of the evening were the championship games of each division. First up was The Chronicle Division championship with No. 1 South Stokes vs. No. 2 Lexington. Both teams had a bye for day one and had decisive victories on day 2, so it seemed like the teams were evenly matched.

In the first quarter, there was a feeling out process for the teams as they were very calculated and reserved on offense. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that the Sauras came out of their shell and began to exert their will.

“I just told the boys we just need to continue from what we had done yesterday, rely on our defense, get our hands on a lot of balls, limit them to one shot, get the rebound, and push it on them and try to execute down the stretch and I think they did that,” said Derek Ward, South Stokes’ head coach.

The Sauras did not hold back in the second half. Led by Korrin N’Diaye and Jaryd Galloway, the Sauras stopped any attempt of a comeback by Lexington. South Stokes would claim the Chronicle Division championship by the score of 52-31.

“I think our size made a big difference today,” said Ward. “I think with our length, it made them throw different passes than they normally throw. We just got our hands on a lot of balls, got the turnovers, got all the 50/50 balls again and we just executed.”

The Sauras took the Lash/Chronicle invitation on short notice, so for them to play so well was very impressive.

“It’s a great feeling and I’m really glad for them kids more than anything,” Ward said about his team winning the tournament. “They deserve it all, they work hard every day, they come in, they want to learn, they listen. I can’t ask for a better group and I hope it continues in conference play when we start back next week.”

Saura guard Korrin N’Diaye was named MVP of the Chronicle Division of the tournament. He played well in both games and was a major reason for South Stokes championship run.

“It feels good, we worked hard,” said N’Diaye about winning MVP. “We didn’t have one of our starters, he had to have emergency surgery, and we just had to come and win.

“I knew I had to play point guard, because our point guard is out. I just wanted to get my teammates involved and play good defense. We watched them play yesterday, so we knew what they were coming into tonight, so we just wanted to keep our cool.”

The championship game in the Lash Division was between Mt. Tabor and Reagan. Many times, when people use the cliché ‘they saved the best for last,’ they are using hyperbole, but in this case it would be accurate.

No. 1 Reagan and No. 2 Mt. Tabor were undoubtedly the two best teams in the Lash Division, so it was only right they met for the championship. Both teams looked very well en route to their championship appearances, so the game had the makings of a good one.

Surprisingly, the Raiders looked like the team in control to start the game. Reagan even was able to take a 22-11 lead midway through the second quarter by hitting timely three-point shots, while Mt. Tabor was in their 2-3 zone. For a short while, it looked like the Raiders may run away with the game.

Mt. Tabor did not stay down for long. By the middle of the third quarter they had taken the lead themselves at 33-31 in the third quarter. The game was tied at 34 after three. Behind the clutch play of Jadon Blair, Mt. Tabor built a comfortable lead down the stretch and would eventually go on to win 50-44.

“Reagan is a good team, we knew that coming in and we knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Taylor Rhodes, Mt. Tabor head coach. “It was a game of runs, they hit us in the mouth early in the first, a little different than last night. They got up 22-11 and I knew we needed a timeout to settle down and we did.

“I was excited, and it was really more exciting when we were making the run to take the lead than it was when it hit triple zeros for me. When the action is going and something big time happens, that’s what really gets me going. In the end, I feel for them … they played a good game, we just happened to have a little more in the end than they did.”

Jadon Blair was named tournament MVP for his stellar play in the tournament. Blair was the key cog on offense and defense for the Spartans in their championship quest.

“Throughout the tournament, I was more focused on getting my teammates involved, but they opened me up to get plays and open layups,” said Blair. “I was mostly looking for my team, but with them giving me open shots, I had to knock them down.

“I like to lead my team during battle, even though I am a freshman and playing amongst sophomores. I like to lead my team throughout the game and make sure they don’t lose their focus and keep it going through the whole game.”

Blair had played well in the first two rounds of the tournament. He says his goal was to continue playing well and not let the moment get too big for him.

“My mentality coming in was ‘don’t lose.’ They are cocky, thinking they are going to blow us out, so I could not let them get in my head and keep my focus,” he continued.  

Being named tournament MVP was an honor, Blair said.  

“I was excited; I’m pretty sure I deserved it though, because overall I am a great team player,” he said. “I am not just going to say that, being cocky; you can ask my team and they will say I am a great team player.”

The All-Tournament team for the Chronicle Division was Jace Covington (WS Prep), Laitian Atkins (Atkins), Markese Tarrant (Carver), Jaylen Henderson (Lexington), Jaryd Galloway (South Stokes) and Korrin N’Diaye, who was MVP of The Chronicle Bracket.

The All-Tournament team for the Lash Division was Isaiah Rogers (Reagan), Carter Powell (Glenn), Brandon Rorie (Parkland), Matthias Banks (Mt. Tabor), Landan Callahan (Reagan), and Jadon Blair, who was MVP of the Lash Bracket.

The Chronicle would like to thank everyone who had a hand in bringing everything together for the tournament, as well as a special thank you to all of the young players and coaches for their tremendous effort throughout.

 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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