Competing during the holiday break

Published 1:14 pm Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Throughout the Christmas breaks that stretches from mid-December into early January. Many athletes around the area have been competing in their winter sports during the break while everyone else kicks back and relaxes. Players and coaches both had an interesting outlook on what they think about playing games and practicing during their time off from academics.

Winter sports are very demanding on the body. Basketball, wrestling and swimming alike are all very strenuous, but being able to compete and practice is still key in preparing for the back half of their schedules.
For example, Washington’s basketball team has been battered with injuries in a tough opening stretch of their season. Even with players hurt, they competed in the Christmas tournament at Washington County High School and made a run at the title, but came up just short. Head coach David Allewalt shared his thoughts on how the break will help his team in the long run.

“I think it’s important to schedule some games during the break. The kids need a chance to spend time with friends and family, that’s very important, but I think it’s important to be in at least one Christmas tournament to keep that competitive spirit alive in their mind to keep them crisp and sharp,” Allewalt said. “We played 10 games in three weeks against really good competition. That’s a lot of basketball. We’re hurt, we’re beat up, but this is a time we can come in and retune, refine things and get healthy. This next three weeks is going to be the most important three week stretch in basketball history for the Pam Pack.”

Washington’s basketball team will have one more game during the long break this Friday at home against Ayden-Grifton. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

The basketball Pam Pack weren’t the only ones in action over the break, the wrestling team took to the mats this past weekend and will be back in action again at North Brunswick this weekend.

Isaac Campbell, junior wrestler on the Pam Pack, said that he wasn’t a huge fan of wrestling during the break, but still says it’s probably best that they continue to compete.

Head wrestling coach Chris Penhollow shared his thoughts about staying active during the break as well.

“If you’ve got a team that’s competitive and going to be in the mix when the state playoffs come around, you want those boys working throughout that two-week break. There are some schools that shut it down for two weeks, but I’ve never wanted to do that with my guys,” Penhollow said. “I never really wanted to do that with my guys, I feel like idle time can develop bad habits. I want them around me as much as possible and to stay in their routine. Of course, there’s some family things going on, but as long as my guys let me know what’s going on I have no problems with them being away with family during the break.”

The Southside girls’ basketball team won both games in the Cougar Classic at South Creek High School last weekend, and Ka’Niyah O’Neal was just glad to not be sitting at home.

TIMEOUT: Southside’s head coach Milton Ruffin (right) talks to his players Shantel Cannon (left) and Miasia McCall (middle) during a timeout in the Lady Seahawks’ holiday tournament win over Edenton Holmes. (MItchell Thomas / Daily News)

“I like (the holiday tournaments,” O’Neal said after her 31-point performance against Edenton Holmes. “I don’t want to be sitting down at home the whole time.”

Southside head basketball coach Milton Ruffin said he thought it was important for his kids to stay active as well.
“It’s good. I know the kids like to stay out, but my players have been coming to practice, and I think the holiday tournaments helps out a lot with preparing for conference play, keeps our chemistry up and I think it helps out a lot to play in them.”

Southside takes a trip to Tarboro next Tuesday, Jan. 7 to face the Vikings. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m.