Shining bright at holiday tournaments

Published 7:07 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2018

While schools are on break during the winter holidays, high school basketball stays in session as teams take part in holiday tournaments, before diving headfirst into conference play in January. And Beaufort County’s squads were no different this year, providing an early Christmas present for prep basketball fans in the area.

The Northside boys basketball team hosted the Northside Christmas Tournament from Dec. 19-20, inviting Washington, Southside and Washington County to join in the festivities. Washington County finished as champions, but Northside and the Pam Pack both had their moments.

The Panthers opened the tournament with a thorough win over cross-county rival Southside, to the tune of 82-39, overwhelming the Seahawks early with their press and coasting to victory. Northside then met Washington County in the title game, gamely battling the Plymouth school to an even score line at halftime. But Northside’s shooting failed on the night as Washington County heated up from behind the arc in the third quarter, allowing the tall, quick and rangy Washington County Panthers to pull away for a 99-78 win.

The Pam Pack began the tournament facing off against the eventual champions. Washington led through a quarter of play, but went cold in the second period and never recovered in an 87-77 loss. The Pam Pack bounced back in the consolation game, defeating Southside, 84-63, after jumping out to a 17-point lead by the end of the first quarter.

While the boys all came together in Pinetown, the Lady Pam Pack made a trip to J.H. Rose to play in the Pitt County Holiday Tournament from Dec. 19-21. In Washington’s first game, it suffered a 67-18 loss to undefeated Farmville Central, who went on to win the tournament. But the Pam Pack recovered nicely, defeating host Rose and Ayden-Grifton over the next two days for Washington’s first consecutive victories of the season.

While the Northside girls basketball team skipped out on a holiday tournament this year, the Lady Seahawks are playing in the South Creek Christmas Tournament, which begins today.

The following are Beaufort County’s standout players from the holiday tournaments played the week before Christmas:



With 58 points over the course of two games, Smith finished as the Northside Christmas Tournament’s highest scorer, while also leading the Panthers with 13 assists. In the Panthers’ matchup with Southside, Smith led Northside with 27 points, while also dropping five assists and swiping six steals.

The junior followed up with a 31-point, eight-assist performance against Washington County. While Northside’s shooting was off on the night, Smith repeatedly weaved his way through Washington County’s defense to either score with a spectacular layup or dish the ball to an open teammate after Washington County’s defenders collapsed on Smith.

It was quite the sight to see, as Washington County has a host of tall, long-armed players that racked up seven blocks on the night, yet the smallest player on the court repeatedly got to the basket at will.



Often the third wheel to Smith and Johnathan Clark, it was Green who provided Smith the most support in the championship game against Washington County. Scoring 23 points against Washington County, Green, with his three 3-pointers made, was one of only two Panthers who could hit his shots in the final, along with Smith.

The transfer from Southside also showed well against his former team. Green only scored eight points against the Seahawks in a blowout-win, but he also had five assists and a team-high seven steals, which allowed Northside to break the game open with points in transition.



The Lady Pam Pack opened tournament play with a 48-point loss but recovered to win its next two games, and a lot of credit goes to Jones, who was named to the all-tournament team. The senior proved crucial in a 43-39 win over Rose and a 42-30 victory against Ayden-Grifton, scoring 12 and 13 points, respectively.

Jones proved her mettle in the fourth quarter of both triumphs, leading the Pam Pack in fourth-quarter scoring in both games. She helped close out both games by scoring five points in the final period against the Rampants, and six points against the Chargers. Jones also was a force on the boards, extending possessions by grabbing offensive rebounds.



Blount closed the Pam Pack’s game-one loss to Washington County by hitting a pair of 3-pointers and forcing a couple of turnovers in the final minute in a last-gasp effort at a comeback. Finishing with 16 points, the sophomore continued his sharp shooting in Washington’s consolation game against Southside, scoring a game-high 27 points.

Blount scored 14 points in the opening period, including a pair of 3-pointers, to help build a 28-11 lead. Blount went on to hit two more 3-pointers, which is important for the Pam Pack’s success, according to head coach Lane Raper. When Blount, Washington’s best perimeter shooter, is nailing his shots, it opens things up inside for his teammates to do damage.