Tourney Time in The Pines
Southern Lee, led by point guard Ace Chalmers, will be one of the favorites when the Holiday in the Pines Boys’ Basketball Tournament gets under way at James Moore Gymnasium on Tuesday in Southern Pines.
The Patriots, now 3-7, defeated Southern Lee 63-61 in last year’s exciting championship game and have two titles and two runner-up finishes in the last four years of the 9-year-old event. The Cavaliers (6-1) have most of their key players back from the squad that bowed out in the 2011 3-A NCHSAA East Region semifinals with a record of 23-5.
Overhills (1-6) provides the opposition for the Patriots at 7:30 p.m. in the last of four first-round contests. Undefeated Richmond Senior (6-0) and West Bladen (7-2) meet at 1 p.m. Fuquay-Varina (1-8) and Durham Hillside (4-4) face off at 2:30 p.m. Southern Lee takes on Fairmont (5-3) at 6 p.m.
The first of Wednesday’s losers’ and winners’ bracket games begin at 1 p.m. The tournament concludes on Thursday with four more games, beginning with the seventh-place contest at 1 p.m.
The championship tilt is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The 5-foot-5 Chalmers is part of a potent threesome that has helped defeat Pinecrest twice this season. Chalmers and 6-foot-5 Josh Mellette both made the all-tournament team a year ago. Guard Josh Lee sank a total of 13 threes in the wins over the Patriots.
“He’s a tough, tough basketball player,” first-year Pinecrest coach Andrew Lacey said of Chalmers after the first meeting with the Cavs. “He keeps his dribble alive, he knows how to use his size, and he knows where his players want to be. He’s played a lot of basketball.”
Southeastern Conference rival Richmond Senior is playing in the tournament for the seventh time and has to be regarded as another one of the favorites. West Bladen and Fairmont are 2A schools that both have a win over a 4A opponent this season.
Pinecrest has shown improvement recently, splitting its last four games after a 1-5 start. Senior Traivon Williams has averaged 12.5 points during that stretch and put together a double-double that included 16 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Hillside 10 days ago.
Junior Adam Cummings has been scoring double-digits in three of his last four outings. That includes a game at Lee County when he made all seven of his shots from behind the arc to finish with a career-high 25 points. Junior Justin Ray has been showing improvement in the playmaking department in his first varsity season.
The admission for the tournament is $5 per day.
“We have some quality teams coming here,” Lacey said. “It’s going to be good, tough competition to tune you up the next part of the season.”
Tournament Schedule: Tues. – Game 1 Richmond vs. West Bladen 1 p.m.; G2 Fuquay-Varina vs. Hillside 2:30 p.m.; G3 Southern Lee vs. Fairmont 6 p.m.; Pinecrest vs. Overhills 7:30 p.m.; Wed. –Game 5 G1 loser vs. G3 loser 1 p.m.; Game 6 G2 loser vs. G4 loser 2:30 p.m.; Game 7 G1 winner vs. G3 winner 6 p.m.; Game 8 G2 winner vs. G4 winner, 7:30 p.m.; Thurs. Seventh place – G5 loser vs. G6 loser 1 p.m.; Fifth place – G5 winner vs. G6 winner 2:30 p.m.; Third place – G7 loser vs. G8 loser, 6 p.m.; Championship - G7 winner vs. G 8 winner 7:30 p.m.
Contact Charlie Bergmann at email@example.com.
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