Hornets sweep Hallsboro tourney titles

Central Middle School’s Girls and Boys basketball squads never trailed in winning the championship games of the 26th annual Hallsboro Middle School Invitational Basketball Tournament. This year’s event is the first action for Columbus County Middle School squads.

The Central girls took an early 5-0 lead against the host Hallsboro team and held a 12-6 advantage at halftime. Both teams upped their offensive production in the second half as Central went on to a 31-21 win. Girls tournament MVP Trinity Smith, led the Hornets with 19 points. Marissa Ivey added six. Aziya Barr was top scorer for the Tigers with nine points.

A lid covered both baskets in the title contest between Tabor City and Central. Central finally solved the scoring riddle with two free throws with 1:15 left in the first period. The Hornets added eight more points before the quarter ended.

Tabor City finally broke its scoring drought with a successful free throw with 1:34 left before halftime. Central led 14-1 at that point. The Eagles scored four more unanswered to close to 14-5 at intermission. Tabor City outscored Central 15-12 in the second half, but could never overcome the early double-digit deficit. The Eagles Kenneth Burgess led all scorers with nine points, followed by Malik Scott with five. Central’s scoring was spread among several players. Kayshawn McCollum and Shaheem Shipman scored six each. Ty Lawson contributed five points. E.J. McCloud and tournament MVP Zion Wilson chipped in four apiece.

Regular season games begin Tuesday, January 16. Upcoming games and photos from tournament action can be found on the nrcolumbus.com website.

Friday’s Three Rivers Conference action

The Fairmont Golden Tornado Boys lived up to their name by blowing away West Columbus 68-22. The loss was WC’s first in the TRC. For Fairmont, it avenged a 84-75 triple overtime defeat earlier this season. Fairmont led 39-11 at halftime and continued to pull away, initiating a “running clock” midway the fourth quarter. West Columbus’ Jake Brownlee led his team’s scoring with six points, 18 points under his season average. The Golden Tornado win creates a three-way tie atop the boys standings, as West Columbus, Red Springs and Fairmont are each 7-1. Red Springs defeated West Bladen 88-68 Friday evening.

Fairmont sits in the “driver’s seat” earning a split with West Columbus and having  wins over Red Springs in both Three Rivers and non-conference play. The Golden Tornadoes travel to Red Springs February 2. West Columbus and Red Springs have not yet met. They are scheduled to play February 6 at West Columbus and February 7 at Red Springs to make up the January 3 contest.

Fairmont vs WCHS photos by Grant Merritt.

It was not a wasted evening for West Columbus fans. the West Columbus girls took a 50-47 win over Fairmont, outscoring the Golden Tornadoes 18-13 in the final period. The Vikings Annela Tiffany scored 17 points and garnered 18 rebounds to offset Fairmont star Kiara page’s 25 points and 20 boards. Tah’nijah McKoy contributed 13 points to the WC win.

Typically, you will not find West Columbus pulling for Whiteville, but the race for a top seed can make strange bedfellows. The Whiteville girls 45-41 win over East Columbus helped boost the Vikings chances of securing the top 1A playoff seed from the TRC.Nsaia Rogers scored 25 points for the Wolfpack. Rogers connected on three, three-pointers and was 14 of 22 from the free throw line. Brianna McCellon added 10 points, eight in the final period. Whiteville led 13-0 after the first quarter, but trailed 30-27 after three periods. Tia Campbell scored 13 points and freshman Alanna Deal added 11 for the Gators.

Every school in Columbus County had something to smile about. No smiles were larger than the East Columbus boys of coach Marcus Skipper. The Gators used a 22-13 third quarter run to wipe out Whiteville’s 27-19 halftime lead. The visiting Gators held on down the stretch for a 59-56 win over the Wolfpack. Free throw shooting was a key component as the teams combined to shoot 63. The Gators made 22 of its 36 attempts, including 12 of 16 in the second half. Whiteville was 15 of 27 for the game. More of Hannah Bullock’s photos from this game are below.

T.J Barr’s two treys sparked the East third-quarter surge. D. J. Williams contributed six points in the quarter. Tyree Burney scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth period to help the Gators hold off the Wolfpack. Whiteville had overcome an East Columbus nine-point lead in the final minute of play in a contest earlier this season at Lake Waccamaw. Bradley Pridgen led Whiteville with 14 points before fouling out. Cameron Richardson added 11. Barr’s 11 points led East with Burney and Graylan Daniels adding 10 apiece.

East Bladen’s girls are now alone at the top of the girls standings. East Bladen defeated South Columbus 67-36. Coach Brian McCleney’s West Bladen girls earned their second consecutive TRC victory by upsetting Red Springs 60-38, knocking the Red Devils out of a first-place tie.

South Columbus boys found a way to defeat East Bladen 57-49 despite making just 10 of 33 free throw attempts. The difference maker? The Stallions were 9 of 16 from behind the three-point arc. When asked about the disparity, South Columbus coach Bryant Edwards responded with one word, “crazy.” Aveon Bellamy and Tyquawn Johnson scored 14 points each for South and Shiquan Conyers added 11.

In other Three Rivers action, St. Pauls swept South Robeson. The Bulldog girls won by a score of 48-41 and the boys final was 57-46.

Girls (through January 12)

Conf.      Overall

East Bladen                 8-1            13-1

Red Springs                 6-2            8-5

Fairmont                     5-3            7-7

West Columbus          5-3            8-7

Whiteville                    6-4            7-8

St. Pauls                      5-4            7-8

East Columbus            5-5            7-6

West Bladen                2-6            4-9

South Columbus         1-8            1-11

South Robeson            1-8            1-11

Boys (through January 12)

Conf.      Overall

Fairmont                     7-1          13-1

West Columbus          7-1          12-2

Red Springs                 7-1          10-3

St. Pauls                      7-2            9-6

Whiteville                    6-4            7-8

South Columbus         4-5            7-6

South Robeson            3-6          4-8

East Columbus            2-8          3-12

East Bladen                 1-8          3-11

West Bladen                0-8          3-12

January 12 (Friday)

Girls, East Bladen 67 @ South Columbus 36

Girls, Fairmont 47 @ West Columbus 50

Girls, East Columbus 41 @ Whiteville 45

Girls, Red Springs 38 @ West Bladen 60

Girls, South Robeson 41 @ St. Pauls 48

Boys, East Bladen 49 @ South Columbus 57

Boys, Fairmont 68 @ West Columbus 22

Boys, East Columbus 59 @ Whiteville 56

Boys, Red Springs 88 @ West Bladen 68

Boys, South Robeson 46 @ St. Pauls 57

January 15 (Monday)

South Columbus vs Wilmington Christian (Boys Only) @ Trask

Fairmont @ East Columbus from January 3

East Bladen @ West Bladen from January 5

Red Springs @ St. Pauls from January 5

January 19 (Friday)

West Columbus @ South Columbus

Red Springs @ East Bladen

West Bladen @ East Columbus

St. Pauls @ Fairmont

Whiteville @ South Robeson

West Columbus and Fairmont Boys set for round 2

It took 13 days and three overtimes to decide a winner when West Columbus and Fairmont’s boys basketball squads met the first time this season. It is now well-documented, that a scoreboard issue caused play to halt with 3;36 left in the second quarter and West holding a 24-21 lead. The Vikings were able to pull out an 84-75 win in three overtimes. That defeat is the only blemish on Fairmont’s conference (6-1)and overall (12-1) records. Meanwhile the Vikings are 7-0 in the TRC and 12-1 overall.

Hardcourt action was finally able to resume this week after numerous postponements due to last week’s icy conditions. Results from all TRC member’s games this week can be found a the end of this article.

Grant Merritt photos.

Tuesday, Whiteville’s boys ended East Bladen’s three-game winning streak with a 44-36 win. The victory ended a four -game losing skid for the Wolfpack. Batik Martin and Phillip Powell led Whiteville with eight points each. Tyquawn Johnson exploded for 32 points, leading South Columbus to a 76-61 win over West Bladen. Shiquan Conyers just missed on a quadruple-double. Confers had 12 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 7 steals for the Stallions. St. Pauls outscored East Columbus 18-11 in the final period to earn a 39-37 road win.

Hannah Bullock photo.

Wednesday, the East Columbus girls took a big step towards the #1 TRC 1A automatic playoff berth with a 33-31 win over West Columbus. Nah’nijah McKoy scored 15 points for West Columbus. The West Columbus boys defeated East Columbus 54-43. Jake Brownlee scored 26 points and pulled down a dozen rebounds for the Vikings. Dejour Smith contributed 12 points for West.



Thursday, Bradley Pridgen’s basket with 1.5 seconds remaining culminated an unlikely Whiteville 46-44 comeback win over South Columbus. The Wolfpack scored the same number of points in the fourth quarter it totaled in the previous three periods. The Stallions led 35-23 entering the final eight minutes. Phillip Powell and Pridgen topped Whiteville scoring with 10 points apiece. Cameron Richardson and Ty Moss added nine each. Whiteville won the girls contest 55-35 behind 18 points from Marquasia Smith and 13 from I’Reona Johnson. Caila Turbeville again led the Stallions in scoring with 11.


Girls (through January 11)

Conf.      Overall

East Bladen                 7-1            12-1

Red Springs                 6-1            8-4

Fairmont                     5-2            7-6

West Columbus          4-3            7-7

East Columbus            5-4            7-5

St. Pauls                      4-4            6-8

Whiteville                    5-4            6-8

West Bladen                1-6            3-9

South Columbus         1-7            1-10

South Robeson            1-7            1-10

Boys (through January 11)

Conf.      Overall

West Columbus          7-0          12-1

Red Springs                 6-1            9-3

Fairmont                     6-1          12-1

St. Pauls                      6-2            8-6

Whiteville                    6-3            7-7

South Columbus         3-5            6-6

South Robeson            3-5          4-7

East Bladen                 1-7          3-10

East Columbus            1-8          2-12

West Bladen                0-7          3-10

January 8 (Monday)

Girls, South Robeson 51 @ Fairmont 66

Boys, South Robeson 51 @ Fairmont 80

 January 9 (Tuesday)

Girls, St. Pauls 32 @ East Columbus 37

Girls, East Bladen 52 @ Whiteville 44

Girls, South Columbus 48 @ West Bladen 64

Boys, St. Pauls 39 @ East Columbus 37

Boys, East Bladen 36 @ Whiteville 44

Boys, South Columbus 76 @ West Bladen 61

January 10 (Wednesday)

Girls, West Columbus 31 @ East Columbus 33

Girls, East Bladen 55 @ Wallace Rose Hill 46

Boys, West Columbus 54 @ East Columbus 43

Boys, East Bladen 46 @ Wallace Rose Hill 48

January 11 (Thursday)

Girls, Whiteville 55 @ South Columbus 35

Whiteville 46 @ South Columbus 44

January 12 (Friday)

East Bladen @ South Columbus

Fairmont @ West Columbus

East Columbus @ Whiteville

Red Springs @ West Bladen

South Robeson @ St. Pauls



HMS basketball tourney final pairings

The Hallsboro and Central Middle girls teams continued dominating runs through the field with semi-final wins Thursday in the HMS Basketball Invitational. Central’s boys will join its girls’ team in the finals. Tabor City edged Hallsboro’s boys to earn a spot in the title game.

A 12-0 first quarter advantage spurred the Hallsboro girls to a 31-9 win over Tabor City. Harmony Somerville scored 10 points and Sanauwa Campbell contributed nine for the Tigers. Isabella Coleman scored four for the Eagles.

Trinity Smith scored nine points and Tessa Nicholson eight in Central’s girls 33-11 victory over Nakina. A 9-0 Hornet advantage in the third period put the game out of reach. Alexis Jordan scored nine points for the Mustangs.

Success from the charity stripe proved to be the difference in the Tabor City boys 21-19 win over Hallsboro. Tabor City was just 8 of 20 from the line, but was 6 of 10 in the second half. Hallsboro was just 1 of 8 for the game. Kenneth Burgess connected on two, three-pointers and two fourth quarter free throws to lead the Eagle scoring. Marvion Green led Hallsboro with six points.

Remarkably, only seven fouls were called in Central’s 32-15 win over Chadbourn’s boys. The first half saw both squads struggle offensively as Central led 12-5 at the break. Zion Wilson scored 11 points and Shaheem Shipman 10 to top Central’s scoring. Naqiis Johnson and Mekhi McCellon had four points apiece for Chadbourn.

Video clips from Wednesday’s action may be viewed on the nrcolumbus.com webpage.

Friday’s championship matchups:

5:00pm, Central vs Hallsboro Girls

6:15 pm, Central vs Tabor City Boys


Frank looks back at October-December 2017


  • West Columbus Boys Soccer defeats East Columbus 3-2 for its first conference win since 2014.
  • Jason Nance picks all 18 games correctly in the Angela Slagle Allstate Agency-Pigskin Picks contest.
  • Freshman Cirilo Gonzalez scores the lone goal in Whiteville Boys Soccer 1-0 win over West Columbus.
  • Whiteville Girls Tennis upsets previously undefeated West Bladen 5-4.
  • East Columbus JV volleyball ends South Columbus’ 27-match conference winning streak with a 25-22, 25-23 win.
  • Central Middle Girls soccer completes another undefeated season. Hallsboro finishes second with a 7-1 record.
  • Walt Greer obtains Ironman status in the Maryland Triathlon.
  • Fairmont volleyball ends South Columbus’ 51-match winning streak.
  • West Bladen sweeps three doubles matches to hand South Columbus its first Girls Tennis loss and move into a first-place tie.
  • Later that week, South Columbus defeats West Bladen in Girls Tennis 7-2 to earn the outright TRC championship.
  • Whiteville Girls Cross Country places five runners in the top 10 to win its 5th consecutive TRC championship.
  • Whiteville Volleyball defeats South Columbus 3-1 to earn its first title in 17 years.
  • East Columbus forfeits its varsity football game to East Bladen due to a lack of players.
  • South Columbus and Whiteville Girls Tennis and East Columbus Volleyball each win in first round playoff action.
  • Central Middle School win s the Columbus County Middle School Football title with a 5-0 record.
  • East Columbus boys Soccer defeats South Columbus 7-5 to clinch the automatic 1A playoff berth.
  • Mary Grayson Koonce of SCHS is named TRC Girls Tennis Player of the year for the second consecutive season.
  • Central football wins the “Super Tuesday” championship defeating Acme-Delco 16-6. Tabor City defeats Hallsboro 30-12 and West Columbus tops Williams 20-6.


  • Whiteville football dominates South Columbus 47-13 to hand the Stallions its first loss and create a three-way tie for the TRC championship. Later that evening, EB pulls #1, SC #2 and Whiteville # 3 for playoff purposes.
  • East Columbus defeats West Columbus 20-14 in a battle between winless football teams.
  • Whiteville and South Columbus are each placed in the 2A West bracket.
  • Whiteville and East Columbus lose in first round Boys Soccer playoff games.
  • Whiteville’s Lilli Inman is named the TRC Volleyball Player of the Year.
  • Whiteville’s Kourtney Grainger and Lauren Hilbourn, as well as South Columbus’ Carson Powell, sign to play softball for UNC_Pembroke.
  • Whiteville’s Ivy Hayes signs to play softball at Newberry. Santana Best signs to play at Southeastern CC.
  • Lilli Inman of Whiteville signs to play volleyball at Sandhills CC.
  • Brooks Baldwin of Whiteville signs to play baseball at UNC-Wilmington.
  • Rodney Hester is the overall winner of the Angela Slagle Allstate Agency-Pigskin Picks contest.
  • South Columbus defeats Green Sea-Floyds 20-6 for the Columbus County Youth Football League 7-8 year old championship.
  • Mountain Heritage scores on every possession to down Whiteville 52-44 in 2A West, 2nd round football action.
  • South Columbus advances to 2A West 3rd round play with a 47-14 win over Lincolnton.
  • Central Middle Volleyball completes an undefeated season by winning the Nakina Middle Invitational.
  • The Cardinals defeat the Dolphins 37-20 to win the 9-10 Columbus County Youth Football League championship.
  • The Panthers top West Columbus 46-37 to claim the Columbus County Youth Football League 11-12 year old championship.
  • The Inaugural Columbus Open Tennis tourney is held with winners, Mens Singles: Barry Bullock. Mens Doubles: Sterling Koonce and Mason Hewett. Womens Doubles: Ellen Steinberg and Valerie Georgevitch . Mixed Doubles: Bailey Barnhill and Bridger Warlick.
  • Reidsville eliminates South Columbus in 3rd round 2A West football action 28-0.
  • Blake Brookshire and Brian Miller win the 5K Turkey Trot.
  • In a season with more twists and turns than a mountain highway, Central Middle Boys Soccer wins the championship. Williams finishes second despite defeating Central.
  • Ty Moss is named TRC Offensive Player of the Year.


  • West Columbus’ Kaylyn (KK) Horne and Whiteville’s Jennifer Stocks earn NCHSAA Cheerleading scholarships.
  • Whiteville Boys Basketball trails 59-50 at East Columbus with less than a minute remaining, but comes back to win 65-62 in regulation.
  • T. Edwards’ West Columbus Boys Basketball team gives him his first win over his brother Bryant’s South Columbus squad 61-50.
  • Jazmin Faison’s lay up with 9 seconds left gives Whiteville’s girls a 51-49 win at Fairmont.
  • The West Columbus at Fairmont Boys Basketball game is stopped with 3:36 left in the second quarter when the scoreboard ceases operation. WC is leading 24-21 at the time and chooses to return at a later date to continue.
  • December 18, 13 days after play was suspended, West Columbus defeats Fairmont 84-75 in three overtimes to complete the suspended contest.
  • The West Columbus JV basketball tournament is renamed the Hubert McCleney JV Basketball to tournament to recognize Coach McCleney for his contributions.
  • The East Columbus JV Girls and West Columbus JV Boys win the JV tournament championships.
  • Nathan Edwards is selected to the NCPreps 2A All-State team.

HMS tourney semi matches set

Hallsboro and Tabor City’s girls and boys teams all advanced to the semi-final round of the Hallsboro Middle Basketball Invitational.

Hallsboro’s girls picked up their second consecutive win by at least 30 points Tuesday, defeating Williams 39-9. Aliya Barr scored 15 points and Harmony Somerville added nine for the Tigers. Ashdon Grigsby led Williams with three points Hallsboro topped Evergreen 37-3 in Monday’s opening round with Sanauwa Campbell scoring eight points. Jayla Taylor scored Evergreen’s basket.

Williams’ boys dug themselves a hole with a scoreless second quarter. The Aggies battled back from a 10-point deficit, cutting the Hallsboro lead to 28-25 in the fourth. Marvion Green connected on three key foul shots down the stretch for a 31-26 Hallsboro win. Green led the Tigers with 17 points followed by Markelle Simmons with 11. Riley Gore was the top Aggie scorer with 16 points, 14 in the second half. Hallsboro’s boys defeated Evergreen 39-17 Monday. Green led the Tigers with 14 points. Laderius Bacon had five points for Evergreen.

Points were at a premium in the Cerro Gordo versus Tabor City girl’s game. Cerro Gordo led 3-2 after one quarter and at halftime. Tabor City held a 4-3 advantage entering the final period. The Eagles outscored the Stingers 10-6 in the final quarter for a 14-9 win. Bailey Clemons scored five for Tabor City. Anna Ty Ivey led Cerro Gordo with four.

A 14-5 second half advantage helped Tabor City to a 27-18 win over Cerro Gordo’s boys. Treshawn Grate topped Tabor’s scoring with 11 points. Amajae Lowery scored eight points for Cerro Gordo.

Wednesday, Nakina’s girls outscored Chadbourn 7-1 in the second half to claim a 15-14 victory. The Mustang’s Andrea Herring scored the only points of the fourth quarter. That basket provided the 15-14 final margin. both teams had several scoring opportunities later in the period, but could not capitalize. Herring led all scorers with eight points. Kiri Rouse and Haley Brown scored five points each for Chadbourn.

The Central girls substituted liberally and placed a dozen players in the scoring column in its 46-2 win over Acme-Delco. Trinity Smith led the Hornets with 12 points. Tashanti Walker connected on two free throws for the Trojans.

Stefan Johnson’s 18 points were not enough to help Nakina’s boys defeat Chadbourn. Naqiis Johnson scored 13 and Unique Kelly added 10 for the Tigers in its 38-30 victory.

The tournament’s most exciting contest closed out Wednesday action as Central edged Acme-Delco’s boys 37-35 in overtime. Acme-Delco took the lead early, but Central eventually regained the lead at 33-31 in the fourth quarter. J. J. Faulkner’s basket tied the score at 33 with 1:11 left to play. Both teams had chances to take the lead in the final minute, but could not convert. Zion Wilson’s running one-hander in the lane with 33 seconds remaining provided the winning points in Central’s 37-35 victory.

Wilson led the Hornets with 11 points. Keyshawn McCullum, E. J. McCloud and Ty Lawson each scored six. Faulkner scored 12 points for the Trojans, followed by Jaquan Redford with 10 and K.J. Brown with eight.

Thursday’s semi-final schedule:

4:00, Hallsboro vs Tabor City Girls

5:15, Central vs Nakina Girls

6:30, Hallsboro vs Tabor City Boys

7:45, Central vs Chadbourn Boys

Admission is $ 5.

Frank looks back at July-September 2017


  • Wolfpack Optimist edge Columbus County 16-13 for District 2 Majors title.
  • Post 137 sweeps Wallace Post 156 in opening round.
  • Columbus County Dixie boys advance to state finals before losing to Hope Mills American.
  • The South Columbus Debs win their second consecutive Dixie softball state title.
  • Tyrell Kirk scores 18 point and grabs 8 rebounds and is name MVP of NCCA East-West game.
  • East Columbus SweeTees earn second straight trip to World Series.
  • South Columbus Angels advance to its third consecutive World Series appearance.


  • The Columbus County Debs win twice in “win or go home” games to claim World Series title.
  • Whiteville golfer Matt Townsend wins the Tar Heel Youth Golf Association event for 16-18 year olds held in Wilmington.
  • Scott Johnson is named South Columbus baseball coach, replacing Bradley Strickland, who resigned to take a job at Green Sea-Floyds.
  • Megan Storms Whitesell is promoted to head varsity softball coach at South Columbus, replacing Johnson.
  • “Visiting” teams win the 31st annual BB&T Jamboree Football event by a score of 70-46.
  • Alfonso Pantaleon and Christian Hernandez from South Columbus sign to play soccer at St. Andrews.
  • Pharoah McKever plays final collegiate season with Butch Davis at Florida International.
  • All 4 Columbus County Girls Tennis teams earn wins on August 22.
  • Whiteville football rallies from a 14-point deficit to edge West Brunswick 29-28.


  • The West Columbus Boys Soccer ends a 38-match winless streak with a 5-0 victory over Fayetteville E. E. Smith.
  • MacKenzie Gore ends his Arizona Rookie League season having pitched 21 and 1/3 innings, allowed 14 hits, 7 walks, 34 strike outs and 1.27 ERA.
  • East Bladen defeats Whiteville 14-6 in football. This would be Whiteville’s only regular-season defeat
  • West Columbus Girls Tennis completes a 5-4 win over Whiteville in the completion of a suspended match. WHS wins the regular match 5-3.
  • South Columbus edges East Bladen 14-13 in football. This would be the Eagles only regular–season defeat.
  • Whiteville High graduate Hunter Smith earns the win in the Greenville Drive’s South Atlantic League title-clinching win. Smith also had a save in the series for the Boston Red Sox Class A affiliate.
  • In one of the most intense volleyball matches in Columbus County history South Columbus defeats Whiteville 3-2 to take sole possession of 1st place inTRC.
  • On the same day, West Columbus defeats East Columbus in volleyball 3-2.
  • East Bladen defeats Whiteville in a Boys Soccer match between the two unbeaten, in conference play, squads. East Bladen would end up “running the table” in TRC play.
  • South Columbus smashes St. Pauls 49-13 in a battle of unbeaten TRC football teams.
  • Whiteville football outscores Fairmont 38-0 in the second half of a 58-16 win.

Vikings defeat Thomas Academy Monday

The West Columbus Vikings returned to the court after missing two games due to inclement weather with a non-conference match up with Thomas Academy of Lake Waccamaw. The Vikings proved too much for Thomas Academy, winning the girls contest 72-2 and the boys game 77-37.

All nine West Columbus girls dressed for the game scored with Annela Tiffany leading the way with 20 points. Tah’nijah McKoy added 15, including three of four successful three-point attempts. Kristen Meares contributed 10.

Jake Brownlee scored 17 points and Daquan Hardie 13 as the Vikings scored 50 second half points in its boys victory.

West Columbus, leading the TRC with a 6-0 record, returns to conference play Wednesday at East Columbus. The contest was rescheduled from January 5. The girls game will have a large bearing on which 1A girls team earns the TRC automatic playoff bid. One note to consider is in order to earn a #1 seed, a team in a split conference must finish with an overall record above .500. Currently West Columbus is 7-6 and East Columbus 5-5.

The Viking boys can’t get caught looking ahead to Friday night’s home game with Fairmont. East Columbus has the outside firepower to spring the upset.

In other TRC action Monday, Fairmont swept South Robeson. the Golden Tornado girls won 66-51 and the boys earned an 80-51 victory.

Girls (through January 8)

Conf.      Overall

Red Springs                 6-1            8-4

East Bladen                 6-1            10-1

Fairmont                     5-2            7-6

West Columbus          4-2            7-6

St.Pauls                       4-3            6-7

Whiteville                    4-3            5-7

East Columbus            3-4            5-5

South Columbus         1-5            1-8

South Robeson            1-7            1-10

West Bladen                0-6            2-9


Boys (through January 8)

Conf.      Overall

West Columbus          6-0          11-1

Red Springs                 6-1            9-3

Fairmont                     6-1          12-1

St. Pauls                      5-2            7-6

Whiteville                    4-3            5-7

South Robeson            3-5          4-7

South Columbus         2-4            5-5

East Bladen                 1-6            3-8

East Columbus            1-6          2-10

West Bladen                0-6            3-9


January 9 (Tuesday)

St. Pauls @ East Columbus, moved up from January 16

East Bladen @ Whiteville

Red Springs @ St. Pauls from January 5

South Columbus @ West Bladen from January 3 (no JV girls)

January 10 (Wednesday)

West Columbus @ East Columbus from January 5

January 11 (Thursday)

Whiteville @ South Columbus from January 5

January 12 (Friday)

East Bladen @ South Columbus

Fairmont @ West Columbus

East Columbus @ Whiteville

Red Springs @ West Bladen

South Robeson @ St. Pauls


Frank looks back at April-June 2017


  • The South Columbus boys and Whiteville girls win the Columbus County Track meet titles.
  • Whiteville baseball edges East Columbus 3-2 at Legion Stadium aided by a disputed call. This is just 22 days after MacKenzie Gore struck out all 15 Gator batters.
  • SCC softball finishes with a 30-11-1 record, the most wins in school history.
  • The South Columbus golfers win the TRC championship. Whiteville edges Fairmont for second place.
  • West Columbus’ Kaylyn (KK) Horne and Whiteville’s Evan Allen are named All-State Cheerleaders.
  • South sweeps East, East sweeps Whiteville and Whiteville sweeps South to create a three-way tie for the TRC softball title. East receives the top 1A seed due to sweeping fellow 1A Whiteville. South earns #1 TRC 2A spot.
  • The Three Rivers baseball and softball tournaments are cancelled to allow teams more dates for make up games due to inclement weather.
  • Whiteville defeats West Columbus 3-1 in girls soccer. More significant than the win is the margin of victory. This is the closest a Columbus County team has come to defeating Whiteville in girls soccer.
  • Whiteville graduate, Jordan Ray wins the top Methodist University award for women’s soccer scholar/athlete.


  • Whiteville’s Hannah Duncan wins the 800, 1600, 3200 and runs a leg on the winning 4×800 relay team to lead the Wolfpack girls to the TRC Girls Track championship.
  • Wesley Bryant and Anthony Cartrette of South Columbus qualify for the 2A State Golf finals.
  • Matt Townsend of Whiteville qualifies for the 1A State Golf finals.
  • Whiteville JV softball completes its season with a record of 15-0.
  • Whiteville’s Ivy Hayes and /Carly Fulkerson combine to no-hit Fairmont in a 13-0 softball victory.
  • Williams Township wins softball; Central wins baseball, Jiggs Powers Middle School Tournament titles.
  • Mason Hewett wins the TRC 2A singles title for the second consecutive year. Hewett later advances to the 2A state tournament.
  • East Columbus’ Hector Palacios wins 1A TRC singles and the Gators Octavio Palacios and Marco Borja win the 1A TRC doubles crowns. Octavio and Marco advance to the 1A state tournament.
  • Whiteville defeats East Columbus in 2nd round 1A dual boys tennis before falling to Raleigh Charter in round three.
  • Columbus Christian Academy takes three straight wins to claim the CCAA baseball tournament championship.
  • West Columbus baseball defeats defending 1A champion Cherryville 6-0 in the opening round of the 1A playoffs.
  • South Columbus softball suffers a 5-4 walk-off loss to two-time defending state champion South Granville in 2A 3rd round action.
  • Kourtney Grainger’s ninth inning homer is the game-winner as the Pack wins 5-4 at Camden County. It was a total team effort as pitcher Ivy Hayes only struck out one batter, but induced 17 fly ball outs.
  • The next day after the 500+ mile round trip to Camden County. Whiteville defeated East Columbus 11-1 in 3rd round softball play. The Gators swept the Wolfpack in the regular season. East had agreed to postpone the game a day due to Whiteville’s travel, but the NCHSAA would not allow the delay.
  • Franklin Academy ended the Whiteville Girls Soccer season with a victory in 4th round action.
  • Whiteville softball and baseball and softball advance to the 1A state finals, sweeping Louisburg and Rosewood respectively.


  • Whiteville baseball sweeps Murphy for its fourth title in six years. After dominating game one 10-0, the Wolfpack staged a seventh inning comeback to win game two and the championship 9-8. Brooks Baldwin’s hit tied the game and Jake Harwood’s single scored Dylan Hamilton with the championship-winning run.
  • Whiteville softball experienced a heart-breaking, 11-inning loss in game three of the 1A championship to finish as runners-up for the second time in four years.
  • South Columbus grad, Tanner Duncan, led the ECU Club baseball team to the championship of the 2017 Club Baseball World Series. Duncan pitched all 10 innings in the title-clinching 1-0 win over Nevada. Duncan later signed a free agent contract with the Houston Astros organization.
  • Sage McLelland was named the TRC Softball Player of the year.
  • MacKenzie Gore and Brooks Baldwin were named 1A first-team members by the NC Baseball Coaches Association.
  • The East Columbus SweeTees, East Columbus Darlings, South Columbus Angels and South Columbus Belles all win District 9 Dixie Softball titles. The SweeTees and Angels both advance to the World Series.
  • Riegelwood’s AA (Coach-Pitch) team dominates the District 2 tournament. The Riegelwood team advances to World Series play where it won several games.
  • South Columbus Dixie Youth Baseball’s Mike Jackson is inducted into the Danny Jones Club of Dixie Youth Baseball.
  • Whiteville Post 137 has to forfeit several games due to an ineligible player.
  • The Wolfpack Optimist wins the AAA District 2 title.
  • James Hobbs is named the new football coach at East Columbus. Hobbs becomes the third coach in four years at the Lake Waccamaw school.

Frank looks back at January-March of 2017

A look at some of the stories that were noteworthy.


  • The Edwards brothers, W.T. and Bryant, West and South Columbus boys basketball teams face off for the first time. Bryant’s Stallions come out on top 42-40.
  • South Columbus’ Dennis Leggett is named to NCPreps 2A All-State football team.
  • The West Columbus varsity cheerleaders win the Small Varsity, Non-Tumbling state championship.
  • Sara Watson, from South Columbus, wins the 2017 NC High School balance beam state title.
  • East Columbus’ Harley Potter bowls a 299 in the Columbus/Brunswick league semi-finals.


  • Central Middle’s girls (32-27 over Hallsboro) and boys (54-39 over Chadbourn) win the silver anniversary edition of the Hallsboro Middle Basketball Invitational. Both squads would finish the season undefeated.
  • The East Columbus girls win their sixth consecutive TRC basketball regular season championship.
  • Whiteville’s boys share the TRC title with Fairmont.
  • Red Springs girls defeat East Columbus and Fairmont boys defeat Whiteville for TRC tournament championships.
  • East Columbus girls advance to third round of 1A playoffs before losing to Pamlico.
  • Whiteville’s boys fall to Kestral Heights 74-69 in fourth round of 1A playoffs. The SBE closed Kestral Heights High in March due to students receiving diplomas who did not meet graduation requirements.
  • West Columbus graduate and ECU freshman, Trey Benton, pitches five shut out innings for the Pirates, striking out 10 to earn his first collegiate win against LaSalle.
  • Tyrell Kirk of Whiteville and Charity Powell of Eat Columbus are named the TRC boys and girls “Player of the Year”


  • East Columbus Girls Soccer breaks a 19-game winless streak with a 3-2 win over Pender.
  • Whiteville’s MacKenzie Gore and Brooks Baldwin combine to pitch a perfect game in a five inning, 12-0, win over Red Springs. Gore struck out 10 in four innings; Baldwin struck out two in a 1-2-3 fifth frame.
  • Tyrell Kirk is named second team All-State by the NC Basketball Coaches Association.
  • Whiteville Girls Soccer retires 2016 graduate Madison Hinson’s jersey. Hinson scored 144 goals in her career, including 50 in both her sophomore and junior seasons.
  • Whiteville softball scores 10 runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 10-7 lead over East Columbus. The Gators score four in the bottom of the inning for an 11-10 victory.
  • Whiteville’s MacKenzie Gore pitches a “perfect” perfect game at East Columbus. Gore struck out all 15 batters he faced, using just 56 pitches in the Wolfpack’s 11-0 five inning win.
  • East Columbus defeats West Columbus 7-6 in baseball. The Gators trailed 5-0 after four innings, but battled back. Garrett Jacobs scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh as the Vikings attempted to retire Kenji Bowen in a run down.