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.