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Lash/Chronicle tournament shines again

Lash/Chronicle tournament shines again
January 09
09:24 2020

Day One

Day one of the Lash/Chronicle Tournament brought a lot of highs and lows for the teams. Some looked to rebound from a loss, while others sought to continue their winning ways in route to a championship.

For day two of the tournament, the brackets were played at separate locations. The Lash Bracket played at Winston-Salem Prep, while the Chronicle Bracket played at Carver High School. All 14 teams were in action for day two.

Day Two

Reagan and Parkland started the day off at Prep in the Lash Bracket. With both teams losing on day one, they were looking to get back on track with a win. It was a good start to the game, with both teams playing with a lot of energy. The score was close at 12-9 after one, but it would not stay that way long.

In the second quarter, the Raiders seized control of the game with their defensive intensity. With their press, they forced several turnovers and forced the Mustangs into taking rushed shots. By the half, the Raiders had stretched the lead to 31-15.

The lead continued to balloon for Reagan. Parkland had no answers for the defensive pressure applied by the Raiders. To their credit, Parkland never quit and continued to play hard throughout. In the end, the Raiders triumphed with a 71-46 victory.

“Today’s game was a perfect storm of our philosophy on defense and their philosophy on offense,” said Reagan head coach Chris McCoy. “Parkland is a drive-and-kick team, so our scheme on defense is to take away the dribble and force the jump shot.

“We were able to relax and play together and actually have fun, which was something my kids needed to have through this stretch of games on our schedule.”

Game two in the Lash Division was another game between two teams that lost in the opening round. Reynolds and West Forsyth played a hard-fought game that wasn’t determined until the final minutes.

The Titans came out of the gates in a full court press that confused the Demons initially. West Forsyth forced several turnovers, enabling them to build a double-digit lead in the second quarter. The Titans seemed in command at the half, holding a 31-23 lead.

The Demons made the necessary adjustments at halftime as they made a run right after intermission. Reynolds quickly closed the deficit to two and by the time the third quarter ended it was a tied ballgame. The Demons caused some turnovers late in the fourth and walked away with the 56-50 victory.

“I got a whole bunch of young guys, they don’t understand about being mentally prepared and it’s just a work in progress,” said Reynolds head coach Breshaun Liles. “We’ve been down like this before, so I told the guys to keep fighting, trust it and let’s play with a lot of energy.”

The battle between Mt. Tabor and Forbush featured two winning teams from the first day of the tournament. Unfortunately for Forbush, the Spartans came with bad intentions and dominated the game, easily winning 81-38.

Mt. Tabor came out of the gate executing well on offense and creating havoc on defense. The Spartans were in control for the entire game. Anything Forbush attempted to turn the tide was quickly squashed by the Spartans. Even when Mt. Tabor eased up on their pressure, the Falcons could not capitalize.  

“This was a typical Mt. Tabor game,” said Kedrick Carpenter, Mt. Tabor head coach. “We played defense, we shared the ball and we started out pretty fast and solid on defense. That is my main focus, along with executing what we do.

“It’s not about making a statement for me; my goal as a coach is to get them ready for Coach Muse at the varsity level. I feel if we play our brand of basketball, we are going to always have a chance to be in the game.”

The finale of day two in the Lash Bracket was probably the best game of the day. The game featured Winston-Salem Prep and East Forsyth, with the game decided in the final seconds with a clutch three pointer made by Jayden Penn to lift the Phoenix to a 46-43 win.

With both teams being so evenly matched, neither squad could develop any sort of offensive rhythm. They were sort of mirror images of one another, as they both used an effective full court press to force turnovers that turned into easy baskets. That was the story for the entirety of the game. The teams looked to be headed into overtime before Penn hit the game winner.

“We were just blessed to be able to pull out a win,” said Prep head coach Chad Hicks. “These guys fight, sometimes they pull out a win, but anytime we get a win, good, bad or ugly, I’ll take it. I put the pressure on them in practice, so they can perform in these types of moments and they told me they were good. I am just so proud of these young men; they are growing every day.”

In the Chronicle bracket there were three games on deck for day two. The first game on deck was the consolation game between T. Wingate Andrews and Carver.

Unfortunately for Carver, they only had four players suit up for the game. Andrews took advantage of the situation by going with a full court press the entire game. The Red Raiders jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Andrews walked away with a 78-43 victory.

Day two was the first day we were able to see top seeded Walkertown on the floor. It was a close ball game. Lexington relied on their outside shooting, while Walkertown used their size to score in the paint.  

The Wolfpack eventually got out to a comfortable lead in the second half. Lexington managed to claw and fight to cut the lead a few times behind stellar guard play, but in the end Walkertown’s ability to get second shots off of offensive rebounds proved to be the difference in the game. The Wolfpack strolled into the championship game with a 55-40 win.

The second seeded Atkins Camels also got their first action of the tournament on day two. The Camels matched up with North Forsyth, who was coming off an impressive victory on day one of the tournament.

At the start of the game, it looked to be the best game of the day. The game was tied at 11 after one and the Camels held a three-point lead at the half. It did not stay tied for long as the Camels came out with the full court press and the Vikings could not figure it out.  The game quickly turned into a blowout, with the final score of 81-50 in favor of the Camels.

Day Three

The stage was set for the final day of the tournament. Some teams were looking to salvage their tournaments with a win, some were looking to finish on a high note after opening day losses, and some had championship aspirations.

The first consolation game of the day was between West Forsyth and Parkland. Both teams were winless in the first two rounds of the tournament and were looking to finish with a victory.

West Forsyth came out in a press that resulted in some early turnovers. Parkland quickly adjusted and began to settle down. It was a close game at the half, with the Titans only leading by 10 at 39-29.

The Titans came out of the locker room and quickly put the game out of reach. The Mustangs seemed a bit shell-shocked by the quick swing in favor of the Titans. By the time the third quarter ended, the Titans led by 30 points. The onslaught continued in the fourth and in the end, West Forsyth won 71-52.

Reynolds and Reagan tipped off next. If not for a close opening round loss, the Demons could have been in the championship game. 

The game started as a defensive battle due to the pressure applied by both teams. However, Reynolds quickly took the momentum and never relinquished it. Their press was dominating and before the Raiders could blink, they were trailing 48-12 at the half.

The Demons never allowed the Raiders to build a rhythm to attempt a comeback in the game. When it was all said and done, the Demons ended their Lash/Chronicle Tournament with a resounding 69-28 win.

“I just told these guys to come out here and have fun, play hard, play with intensity and whatever you do, don’t back down,” said Coach Liles. “We are preparing for the conference, so everything we’re doing from today was all for conference. We kind of had to send a message early that in the conference we are not playing, and we are coming for everybody.

“I think all 13 of my guys took advantage of their shot today and when we are like that, we are a very tough team to beat. I think that first loss hurt the guys, knowing they were up by two and then lost by five. It’s kind of a learning thing, so with all freshmen we are just learning and growing together.”

The next game between Andrews and North Forsyth was to decide who would be the third-place finisher in the Chronicle bracket.

To say that both teams came out with a lot of energy would be an understatement. The frenetic pace of the game created an excitement in the game that resonated throughout the crowd.  

Andrews seemed to be the superior team on the defensive end of the floor and that enabled them to build a slim lead at the half. North Forsyth chipped away at the lead several times, but never could come all the way back. The Red Raiders held them off in the end to win 62-49.

“It was a great experience, we took a big loss, the first loss the first round, which we should have won, but it’s okay because we bounced back and now we are taking home third place,” said Cory Dumas, Red Raider head coach. “We are more of a second half team and we are working on the first half, trying to get those guys to push hard and move forward, so that’s our goal for now, to start the game like we always finish.”

The third-place game in the Lash Bracket between East Forsyth and Forbush was one of the best of the day.  

Forbush held an early lead to start the game, but East Forsyth quickly came roaring back in the second quarter to take a lead of their own by turning up the defensive intensity, which is something Eagles coach Rodney Minor preaches to his team.

Forbush would not fold and continued to fight back throughout the second half. The Eagles withstood the push from the Falcons to end their Lash/Chronicle Tournament with a third-place finish, after taking home the championship a year ago.

“It’s either hit or miss for these guys, either it’s first place or third place for the last five years,” said Minor. “I’m happy for it, my guys came, they responded well tonight. We took a tough loss last week and they responded well tonight. I thought they came out a little slow with no energy, but we ended up picking it up in the second quarter and it was kind of hard for Forbush to gain ground after that.

“I stress to the guys to just stay patient. Offensively, what we ran in the first half, we got what we wanted, but we just didn’t capitalize. So, I just told them to stay patient and we could get what we want. I’m fairly young and this is the youngest team I have had in seven years, so it’s still growing pains I am going through as a coach. I take the things we do bad in these games and try to build and teach.”

The top two seeds in the Chronicle Bracket, Atkins and Walkertown, faced off in the championship game.

The opening quarter was a feeling-out process for the teams. Both offenses were executing well in the first half. Every time one team made a small run, the other would quickly answer with one of their own.  

In the second half, the Camels began to exert their will on the Wolfpack, building a double digit lead early. Walkertown made some adjustments, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the offensive execution from the Camels. The Wolfpack began to take chances on defense, which did not pay off leading to the 77-67 outcome.

“It feels really good, coming from a player that played in this my sophomore year and actually winning the whole thing when I played for Reynolds and won the MVP. It’s a great feeling to come back as a coach to see my team do the same thing,” said Desmon Baldwin, Atkins head coach. “Our strategy is that we want to put a lot of pressure on a team the whole time. We have a lot of kids and a lot of bodies to throw at them.

“I think this is a really good catapult into the new year and trying to be the conference champion. In my mind I knew if we played our game and eliminated mistakes, I felt very confident we would be in this position we are in now.”

The championship in the Lash Bracket between Winston-Salem Prep and Mt. Tabor was their third matchup of the season already. With Mt. Tabor winning the previous two games, one of them by more than 20 points, Prep wanted to make a statement.

It was a good defensive game from the tip. Mt. Tabor held a slim lead early, but Prep never allowed them to pull away. The Spartans only led 25-18 at the half. As hard as Mt. Tabor tried, they could not put the Phoenix away. Prep fought until the final horn, but the Spartans were too much and won the game 52-44 to win the Lash Bracket championship.

“My expectations were to just play as a team and to execute our stuff,” said Mt. Tabor head coach Kedrick Carpenter. “My main concern, and me and Coach Muse always talk about this, is to get them ready for when they move up to varsity, but having to play Prep twice prior to this championship game, we knew they weren’t going to lay down.

“We couldn’t really get in a flow with how the fouls were being called, but at the end of the day, we kept telling them to just keep doing what we do. It felt good for the team because a couple of the kids were on the team last year. I don’t think people realize, but going into the new year, the entire Mt. Tabor program is undefeated, and they didn’t want to be the first team to lose. It felt good for me; I am not doing this for me, I’m doing this for the group I’m coaching. This isn’t the biggest team, but this is the most skillful team since we won it with the Muse twins.”

With all the great talent on display during the tournament, it was difficult to nail down an All-Tournament team and MVP for both brackets.  

The All-Tournament team for the Chronicle Bracket are: Great Shivers (T.W. Andrews), Oakland King (Walkertown), Sterling McIntosh (Walkertown), Jamel Williams (Atkins) and Justin Covington (North Forsyth).  The MVP of the Chronicle Bracket was Rashee Simms (Atkins).

“From the start of the tournament I worked hard and always pushed to do my best,” said Simms. “As we faced different teams, we had to turn up the defense, because defense is our main goal. My coaches really push me to do my best and we were really thirsty for this.

“We just had to have that dog in us, and I always try to tell my teammates before we play any team what their weak points are. I was so happy; last year we lost to Reagan in the first round and I was so devastated after that, so I always worked after the summer to win it all this year.”

The All-Tournament team from the Lash Bracket are: O’Shae Fernanders (Mt. Tabor), Braxton Stewart (East Forsyth), Jordis Broadnax (West Forsyth), Nasir Graham (W-S Prep), and Jahon Foster (W-S Prep).  The MVP of the Lash Bracket was Jamerien Peterkin (Mt. Tabor). 

“We played together, we played hard, played fast and we shared the ball and I tried to do my part to help the team win,” said Peterkin. “I was shocked to be named MVP and this will allow us to keep playing hard and fast and we shouldn’t lose.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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