Crowning a champion (sort of), Ka’Nyah’s last game and a reminder

Published 5:27 pm Monday, March 27, 2023

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If any of you have Florida Atlantic, UConn, San Diego State and Miami as your final four in the bracket you filled out over a week ago, please bring it to the Washington Daily News office so I can see it. If I’m not there, politely ask one of the women in the front to make a copy and leave it for me.

There’s no way I will have any visitors.

The odds of these four teams making it this far were 1 in 125,000, which works out to 0.0009 percent.

Just as amazing to me is that out of the top four seeds in each of the four regionals, only number four UConn advanced. 15 of the top 16 are gone as the tournament reaches the end. It’s never happened before, so it’s kind of cool to witness history.

Congratulations to Southside girls coach Milton Ruffin for “winning” this years’ contest among the county coaches.

Ruffin wears the figurative crown after picking one, that’s right, one of the final four. Miami’s comeback win over Texas boosted him past Northside girls coach Michelle Leathers and Washington boys coach David Allewalt, who both picked the Longhorns.

“I just had a hunch about Miami, because they’re a well-rounded team that is playing good basketball right now,” Ruffin said. “However, I did have them losing to Gonzaga for the national championship. I’ve really enjoyed this tournament because the small schools have played with such heart and desire. It’s fun to see the underdogs play well like they have this year.”

In most years, picking one of the final four teams won’t get you a win, but things are different this time.

Good job, coach Ruffin and thanks to all who participated.

Speaking of Southside, Ka’Nyah O’Neal wrapped up her outstanding high school career with nine points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 20 minutes of game action Saturday at the Carolinas Classic All-Star game at Wilmington Hoggard High School on Saturday.

The game featured 10 players from each Carolina as North dominated South, 85-56.

“She more than held her own against very good competition,” Ruffin said. “It was fun for her to play with a shot clock and play two halves instead of four quarters. The Friday night banquet was a lot of fun and it was a first class event.”

Here’s hoping some Division 1 coach realized O’Neal is worth a scholarship. She will have a chance to continue her career at some collegiate level and there’s always the transfer portal. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching her play and there are plenty of D1 schools that could use her.

Here’s your friendly weekly running reminder. F3, the local men’s workout group is putting on the first, hopefully annual, Exodus 5k/10k Run, Saturday, April 8th at 8:30 a.m. at Mac Hodges Festival Park in Washington.

My training was terrible last week after a positive finish in the St. Patrick’s Day 5k. The hardcore runners tell me that’s normal, but it’s disappointing to work that hard and still run so slow.

You can register online at All proceeds go to Dare Challenge, a 10-month recovery program in Wanchese that has helped many men in our area. Sign up, get some exercise and be part of an event that could help change a life.