Weather and a miscommunication changed two local holiday basketball tournament brackets. First Flight High School from Kitty Hawk, NC was scheduled to play in the WOW tournament at West Bladen. Due to possible inclement weather and travel concerns the Nighthawks had to pull out of the event, leaving seven teams. It appears that an “understanding” that the West Columbus girls would take part in the East Columbus holiday tournament was incorrect. The Vikings played two games in the Green Sea-Floyds Lady Trojan Turkey Shootout in November. Four more non-conference games, two against GSF and two against Thomas Academy put West Columbus at the maximum contests. This made the Vikings unable to take part in the East Columbus tournament. The assumption that West Columbus would not take part was not discovered until last week’s Hubert McCleney JV tournament. Tournament organizers were unable to find a team to play on both dates.
Whiteville’s boys faced South Brunswick in first round play in the Woodmen of the World tourney. The Wolfpack fell behind 16-3 in the first quarter and could never make up the early deficit, losing 65-51. Jace McKenney scored 32 points for the Cougars. TyJuan Anderson led Whiteville with 22 points. Whiteville takes on East Bladen today (Thursday) at 4 p.m. It is unclear at this writing whether Whiteville will play on Friday.
Whiteville’s girls graciously agreed to step in to the East Columbus tournament to face Topsail in the opening round. This contest put Whiteville at their season maximum, so win or lose Topsail would advance to the championship contest. The Pirates made advancement a moot point with a 60-50 win over the Wolfpack. Whiteville fell behind by double digits in the first five minutes of the game. However, coach Serena Smith’s squad fought back, closing to within four at 43-39 with 5:16 left in the game, but would never get any closer. Brianna McCellon and Nsaia Rogers combined for 36 of the Wolfpack’s 50 points with 19 and 17 points respectively. Lauren Caviness led Topsail with 18 points. The teams combined for an impressive 15 of 17 successful free throw attempts.
East Columbus girls defeated South Columbus 37-26 to reach the championship game. Tia Campbell led the Gators with a dozen points. Shynicquel Watson added nine and Arianna Daniels contributed eight. Sarah Faulk scored 10 points for the Stallions.
West Columbus Boys improved to 9-0 with a 61-49 win over Topsail. West Columbus dominated inside play and led throughout the contest. Topsail closed the gap to 53-49 with 2:19 remaining in the game before an 8-0 Viking run closed the contest. Two Jake Brownlee dunks highlighted the final minute of play. Brownlee scored 22 points to lead West Columbus. Deontay Bromell collected a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Zach McPherson added 10 points. Caleb Bloodworth scored 21 points to top the Pirate scoring.
After one quarter of play the East Columbus Boys led South Columbus 11-2. East could only manage 15 points in the final three frames and that allowed the Stallions to comeback and grab a 35-26 win. South columbus pulled to within one point at halftime, 14-13. A 16-4 Stallion third period advantage provided a working margin for coach Bryant Edwards’ team the remainder of the game. Tyquawn Johnson scored 11 points, all in the second half, for South Columbus. Zack McKoy added 10. T.J. Barr was top scorer for the Gators with nine points. All of Barr’s baskets were three-pointers.
Thursday at East Columbus
2 pm: Boys, Topsail vs East Columbus
3:30 pm: Girls Championship, Topsail vs East Columbus
5 pm: Boys Championship, South Columbus vs West Columbus