Bengal Tigers top Ragsdale Tigers to take the Pizza Hut Tourney Title

Posted by Andy Durham on January 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm under High School | 18 Comments to Read

Don Moore did a super job tonight getting all the scores up from the Tournament and there’s not much more to be said other than Congratulations to Coach Freddy Johnson and his Greensboro Day School Bengals…..

Jay Lewis, the tournament MVP, led the Bengals with 18 points and 6 rebounds, but this was what we would call a total team effort, against the Tigers.

We met and interviewed Coach Craig Shoemaker in the pre-game and he has a solid team and they will do well in the Mid-Piedmont 3-A Conference. The Bengals played great defense on Jay Canty and they forced Canty to work extremely hard while he was on defense.

I know we had the “Miami Hype Machine” going on prior to the game here at the site, but that’s how you have to get it rolling when you have a big game on the line.

In the pre-game with Pizza Hut Invitational Tournament media director, Rob Goodman, I picked Greensboro Day School to win this game, and how do you pick against Coach Johnson and those four straight titles and now nine overall?

Canty caught the fan’s attention during the tournament and he will be a player we won’t soon forget, but the butt-busting team effort came tonight from the Bengals.

Robert Johnson, the coach’s son, told us he was a nervous wreck having to watch this game from up in the stands at the Special Events Center. Robert said you can never underestimate the “TEAM” part of Greensboro Day School basketball.

Jay Lewis, Brandon Dorsett, Christian Pulliam, Javan Mitchell, Lucas Weavil, Domas Rinksalis, John Bunch, Ryan Carty, Ryan Campbell, Jordan Robertson, Jimbo Brumley, Alex Dick, and Michael Tuck all saw time and again it was a team effort.

Javan Mitchell got in foul trouble picking up his fourth with plenty of time left in the game. When Javan picked up his third foul, the Bengals grabbed a 13 point lead with their big man on the bench. The Bengals went on to win by 15, 57-42.

Canty was never able to get into a steady flow and the Bengals’ defense was the difference……Trap on the sideline, trap the baseline corners, if your’e Ragsdale you can’t pick up your dribble. Like I said earlier today, Coach Johnson and his staff with Jeff Smith, Steve Shelton, and Coach Jeffries have previously shut down Dudley and many of the Panthers’ top players and they did it again tonight to Ragsdale. The pressure by Pulliam, Lewis, Dorsett, Weavil and Carty was unbelievable. That was what changed the game….

Get the pressure on White, Jones, Plummer and the other guards and they can’t get the ball cleanly to Canty so he can start his move to the basket. Don’t allow the guards to get started. Ragsdale was not allowed to start the offense at the foul line extended…No penetration, the plays were starting at mid-court extended…..

What a night and now four straight Pizza Hut Invitational Tournament Titles for the Greensboro Day School Bengals…….

Congrats to the Ragsdale girls for winning their first crown with Lisa Archie getting 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5-6 blocks and some real sweet shots just inside the foul line. Long shots for a big Lady Tiger. Dorian McInnis played on a bad ankle almost the entire game and she did not leave the court. Big-time, warrior-like effort by McInnis….Lady Tigers win it 43-38….

Helen Terry won the free throw shooting contest over PJ Hairston of Dudley and the Panthers were in the house tonight at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center and good job by Helen with the entire crowd and PJ looking on……Helen, PJ and the Panthers will be back in action next week and she better not miss another free throw all season.

Great job by the Greensboro Sports Council and Pizza Hut and all the other participating sponsors with another Tournament in the books and will Dudley HS and PJ be back next season?

How much longer will Coach Johnson keep coaching the Bengals????? Robert Johnson said tonight that Freddy may still be coaching at age 70, much like Morgan Wooten who was the man at DeMatha……


  • #1 Fan said,

    That was Helen Terry 2nd year in a row winning the free throw shooting contest.

  • Andy said,

    You’ve got to love Helen and we hope she will be able to take that free throw shooting touch and her outside three-point shooting range on to a college of her choice next year.

    Good job Helen on those back-to-back titles and way to put the pressure on PJ and Sam Hunt as they try to chase you down and steal that crown.

    Watch out for William Tre’ Johnson too……

  • hoopsnut said,

    I am really concerned about the quality of coaching in the area. Yes there are players, but did anyone watch the games. There was obviously only one or two teams that were even close to being ready to play. Maybe the Northerns and Ragsdales and Pages and Grimsleys will stop looking at how they can score and see if they can find the other end of the court. I was embarrased for our city and our kids.

  • joe said,

    I saw the same thing hoopsnut. I’m not a basketball guru but defense was suspect at times, not much movement without the ball, few screens, no help D, poor passing. And this by several talented teams, or should I say teams with talented players.

    I know some of those coaches from the teams you mention. They’re good coaches. Sometimes it’s tough to get a kid to do what you want him to do. I noticed parents in the stands telling their kids what to do. Makes it tough on the coach.

  • Keeping It Real said,

    To hoopsnut,
    I assume you are referring to defense. If this is the case, I don’t think the issue is isolated to our city or our kids. As long as the sportcenters (media outlets in general) glorify the offensive side of the game, kids everywhere are going to focus on the “O” side of the game (give the people /fans what they want). I have yet to see kids running around the gym telling their friends, “man that was great lock down “D” you put on so and so. You kept them to 10 points below their scoring average”. It just doesn’t happen. Kid’s want peer acceptance, they are going to do what gets them the most praise. When was the last time you saw something in the paper on the defensive side of the game. Everyday it is the double digit scorers names listed outside the boxscores. When was the last time you saw a defensive player make the all tournament team.

    Think about the position of point guard as an example. The majority of PG’s today are scorers in high school. The ones that get to the next level usually have to transition to distributors after they get to the next level. Why? Because if they don’t score in High School, they will rarely get to the next level. Coaches are not going to risk their career on someone whose name is not in the paper every week or has the buzz around them. Remember, it’s all about the money. College Alum’s are not going to fill the seats at the major programs without the name recognition players. Don’t be fooled, it’s all about the entertainment value.

    Another point to consider is, I personally don’t think it is the high school coach at issue here. 2 hours a day practice doesn’t make you a pro. Think about your job/career. Can you excel at what you do working only 25% of the work day and be one of the best? I doubt it. Why would you think high school players are any different. The fortunate 1-3% that get to the next level are usually working more than 2 hours a day on their game. Sometimes this comes at a price (time for school work). It is a tough balance.

    My final point is in general, I feel we have the reward process backwards. We pay the top dollars for coaching at the high end of the game and next to nothing at the formative years (sound familiar to our education system in general). An example is I watched one of the Sunday night college games. I was still amazed at how kids just go through the motions of setting and working off of screens the same as the kids this weekend. If I understand the game correctly, it is the responsibility of the person who wants the screen to set up the screen as much or more than the screener. In fact, a good offensive player can use a defenders teammate to set a screen as well as their own teammate.

    So I will end this post with, not trying to hate on your point hoopnuts, but I learned to take it for what it is nothing more than supporting and watching some of the local kids have fun for a few $$$ and possibly be able to say I saw the few gems that make it to the next level when they played prep ball.

    Could it have been better? Sure. But I for one am proud to see kids develop and learn to handle being in front of thousands. I hope it helps all of them deal with pressures in whatever career they go pro in.

  • Tiger Fan said,

    It’s time for Greensboro Day School to find another tournament to play in. I say that for one simple reason, they play under different rules than everyone else that participates in the tournament.

    Some of these rules include:
    1. Starting practice earlier in the year than public schools; which leads to them being more prepared for this tournament.
    2. Have different regulations on amount of games they can play; they come in the Little 4 every year with any where from 4-6 more games played than the public schools which means they have more game experience
    3. “The biggest thing” They can play 8th graders and reclass players! Yeah, it doesn’t sound like much to be able to play an 8th grader, how much can it help? Well, the Little 4 MVP this year played in the Little 4 as an 8th grader, he also reclassed (reclass-hold back a year in school). So as I check out past programs, I realized that this is his 6th year playing in the Little 4. That’s right 6 YEARS!! He is suppose to be the MVP and GDS is suppose to win every year if you have kids (young men) with that much experience. 6 years!! C’mon 6 years!! Doesn’t it get old to you? I don’t know but it is getting “old” to me. And when I checked he is not the first 6 year player to play at GDS just another in a long line. NCHSAA says schools under it’s jurisdiction (the other schools in the Little 4) can only play players 4 years no exceptions at all.

    So is Coach Johnson that good of a coach, he has more Little 4 championships than anyone else, or should we put an * beside it that notes they play under different rules than the other teams.

    So the Pizza Hut Invitational (Little 4) is a good tournament but would be even better if everyone played under the same rules.

  • Keeping It Real said,

    Since I like to think about the positive and be on the solution side rather than the complaining side, how about the local area coming up with an all defensive team? Both for the PHI and the local media for the season.

    This would put some emphasis on it and may get kids to focus on this side of the game.

    Some kids respond better to the carrot rather than the stick (I know, coach still needs to make you run them ‘cides’ for not playing help side “D” or not being in stance” :-).

  • Keeping It Real said,

    Tigerfan,
    Maybe a different approach to take on PHI.

    I for one like the fact that GDS is in the field even with their “advantages”. For Ragsdale being a first time participant, I think they represented their program well.

    If you take GDS out, and Ragsdale wins, do they have a false sense of how good they are and what they need to work on?

    GDS is a great measuring stick for the local teams.

    Here’s why:
    They attract players that allow them to have a deep bench. So you know you are going to play 32 minutes of high quality basketball.

    They travel and play good to great privates across the state.

    They are always prepared and are going to play fundamental basketball.

    Most programs would have to travel to have an opportunity to have a chance to measure their program.

    Three local teams and coaches are fortunate enough to get a chance to measure their program every year. GDS, please continue to do your part in contributing to the local area.

    Besides, everyone needs a “villain”. Even Duke enjoys being the hated rival. I think GDS enjoys that status locally.

  • Andy said,

    Two or three players that come to mind quickly and I am sure more will come up later, but the two that jump out are the Leonards. Travis played at Greensboro Day and Jonathan played at Grimsley and they had a sister that was a pretty good basketball player too, but she focused on soccer. I may be wrong, but I hear their dad Mike was not too bad and their grandad was tough too on defense.

    Travis played Stephen Curry and held him to just 12 points when Greensboro Day beat Charlotte Christian for the state title back in Stephen’s senior year. Seth Curry was on that same team and he was held in check too. Greensboro Day won the champonship by around 8-10 points over a very good Charlotte Christian team.

    GDS wins with defense and that’s why they defeated Ragsdale for the title. Christian Pulliam is one of the best defensive players around the area and an unsung guy like Lucas Weavil is right there too as is Brandon Dorsett. Many of these players Freddy has are not superstars but he works them into the system and determines their role.

    Jonathan Leonard at Grimsley was an excellent defensive player and so was Josh Chavis who played at Dudley….Josh didn’t really look to score until his senior year but even he fell prey to the Greensboro Day defense in the championship round of the Pizza Hut Invitational. The first two days of the tourney Josh and company were lighting it up(on fire you might say) and then in the final the tables were turned around for he and Kenny Belton when they met GDS.

    Johnathan Spain at Page is a very good defensive player. He is very strong, boxes out well, and also clears after a rebound and before looking for an outlet pass. Jon may be one step slower this season since he has added weight while training for football, but he is still one of the better inside defenders around and I would not want to mess with him.

    The re-class issue is perfectly legal in the life and world of the private schools and if you want to participate you have to go private to take advantage of it. It has been going on for years and again it’s perfectly legal.

    Freddy Johnson continues to take kids that are good and make them better and it takes time. Bruce Woodall is another kid that played for Coach Johnson recently who was a very good defender and he worked hard but he is now on a golf scholarship at Virginia.

    I don’t think Ragsdale was ready for the GDS defense and as one of the earlier posters said, nobody else was playing defense quite like GDS in the tournament. As you all know, you have to work very hard to play good defense, and some of the kids aren’t willing to work that hard the entire game. Nick Mearite is a very good defender for Ragsdale, but in the championship game he got caught playing defense with his hands and not his feet, GDS was very quick and they did not wait for you to stand and watch the ball, they kept the ball moving….

    If you play defense correctly for 32 minutes, you will be more tired than you would be if you just focused on your offense. Playing tough “D” and then turning around and having to play offense too will kill you and I think that’s what wore down Canty and Ragsdale.

    Both Jay Canty and Javan Mitchell were in foul trouble and the other kids had to take over the game. Domas Rinksalis, the other Bengal big man didn’t score a point and the other big, Jordan Robertson wasn’t a factor. The game was won by the perimeter people; Pulliam, Weavil, Lewis, Dorsett and others and they were busting their tails playing offense and defense….

    To be the best you have to beat the best and that hasn’t happened in the past four years. I have been on the losing end for many years and that’s why we were out there playing hoops on Sunday afternoon till dark(6:07 pm), and that included dodging the water puddles on the outdoor slab.

    You have to keep working…..It’s going to be a long game and there are no real excuses, hard work will determine the outcome in the end or you will die trying…..

  • kirk said,

    Hard to dispute Johnson as a coach. Long, proven track record.

    It’s fun to go up against the best teams. GDS does play with a different set of rules than everyone else in the tourney but it’s not a conference game, the tourney means very little and you get better by playing those teams. But they do have some advantages that others don’t. Being able to scholarship a few players with an education that exceeds 10k/year is a nice incentive to a kid. Being able to legally recruit also helps. They’re not the only private school that scholarships a few players.

  • GM said,

    Hoopsnut, the entire tournament was played in the 50s and 60s, so there was much more lack of offense than defense. From watching my team, Page, you can hear the coaches constantly trying to get the team to move without the ball and cut hard. That is what AAU has done to baseketball. Kids think if they don’t have it in their hands there is no reason to move hard b/c they aren’t the ones scoring. The culture of basketball is getting ruined by AAU coaches and YMCA gurus getting in kids heads and making them think that if their coach doesn’t think they are an All-American then they must have bad coaches, not that they have to get better as a player.

  • Andy said,

    I like that last take by Keeping It Real. That was a good breakdown about the tournament being a measuring stick to help your team get ready for the conference schedule and the stretch run in January and February.

  • hoopsnut said,

    I understand most of what is being said here. No, it’s not the same as college or professional basketball. Coaches are not paid the same. The same amount of time cannot be spent on basketball. None of us know what goes on in practices and the locker rooms. Kids may be told one thing and do another. Unless you are a part of the daily action you really dont know the dynamics of the team. But as an outsider looking in, I find it hard to believe that GDS for example is that more talented than a Page or Northern or Ragsdale, or the majority of the better public schools in the area in and out of Guilford County. I was looking at the rosters of their players that played minutes. Are you telling me that a Ryan Carty and Ryan Campbell are guys that would play meaningful minutes in other programs that are supposedly on the same level? I am sure those kids are not bad players, but put them in a public school and see if they see the court. Just an observation. That is a testament to both the players and coaches at GDS. For whatever reason, it appears to me that the kids accept coaching (and criticism) and their roles better and more consistently than kids at any other school. Why is that?

    I also made a call to a friend of mine on the Jay Lewis situation. I do think he dressed as an 8th grader. Although another friend thought he didnt start attending GDS until 9th grade. However both said he was not held back and that he was actually hurt for his 10th grade season. I would guess that most kids that stay back are doing so for academic reasons and not athletic. But regardless, its a families decision. Lets not put the Day School on trial here. They seem to have good, well behaved kids that represent their school and families the proper way.

    I would also like to give a shout out to the new coach at NW Guilford. With a bunch of young kids he won 2 of 3 games. I saw two of those. They were actually the second best defensive team in the tourney. Again going back to the statement I made earlier.

    I have no ill will towards the players or even coaches of any school. I just know that if I had to choose a public school to send my son to play basketball in the city, I would be concerned about how he was being taught the game based solely on the first three days of basketball in 2009. Hopefully it was just a bad three days and the basketball in the area is not as rag tag as it looked for a good deal of the PHI!!!

  • Keeping It Real said,

    Hoopnuts,
    It sounds as if you mean well in your post. However, I read no solutions offered. Your argument went from criticizing the coaching to now criticizing the player for not accepting coaching/criticism as well as the GDS players. You posed the question. I suppose you must have an opinion on this since you bought it up. What do you think?

    I personally think that the schools you mentioned by name in your post typically have players from socioeconomic backgrounds that have disposable income that allow them to receive professional (paid) training at an earlier age that helps with their development of the concept of team ball. Is this the only reason? No. If you look at the rosters of the teams from top to bottom, I would be willing to bet the teams that did well have a higher percentage of kids receiving professional training (either paid or comped).

    To your point about the team with the 2nd best scoring defense, that really hurt your credibility when you mention that. Because you throw in a 33 point defensive effort against a team that went 0-3 for the tournament, doesn’t offset the 63 and 75 points given up to the other 2 teams. I know it is an improvement from the 101,90,etc earlier in the season. They are a good offensive team but I would not make them out to be world beaters defensively just yet.

  • shoot that rock said,

    Andy don’t you think that it is unfair to the teams with the better record for not being invited to the little four. Be for real they had one team there that hadn’t won a game all season til the little for. I don’t agree that those teams in the little four this year was the best guilford county had to offer.

  • Andy said,

    Dudley chose Puerto Rico this year, but based on who we had at the tournament and who wasn’t there, who would you leave out and who would you bring in?????

    The Pizza Hut Tournament is an Invitational now and the Greensboro Sports Council will build next year’s field on invites.

    Let’s open this up a bit, who would you leave out and who would you bring in?

    I think there was some emphasis on having Smith stay in because they were part of the original 1976 Little Four.

    Before Dudley decided to go Puerto Rico, Dudley was still in and Smith was out……

  • hoopsnut said,

    Well lets start with Northwest. There is no doubt they are not a great defensive team. I would think that it would be unfair to expect them to be. My point with them was that it looks as if they were actually trying to guard someone and had a scheme. Trying to develop a philosophy. I know that for example four or five years ago GDS changed from playing predominantly zone to man to man. I bet if you asked them they would tell you that the first year or two they were no where near where they are now defensively. Not something that you just learn in a half of a season. It takes time in any sport to develop a program. I think the guy at NW is heading in the right direction.

    As far as the comment about solutions. That is a tough one. I dont know that there is a perfect answer. I would say that the main thing is that most kids dont seem to be help accountable. Turnovers and less than full effort are accepted. I think that the fault falls in both directions. But from the little that I have been involved in coaching, my experience is that kids will follow if they are led. If there are expectations. If there are consequences for actions. Kids will for the most part buy in. So is there an answer. I dont know. But it is obvious that it can be done. Look at the job done at GDS. Are those better kids? Do they want to win more than the next kid? I dont think so. I think it is the leadership. Just an opinion. Not claiming to have all the answers.

    All this being said. How great would it have been (or would it be) to see GDS and Dudley. Two totally different styles clashing. One team that tries to outscore and one that tries to keep you from scoring. Think GDS could get them for a fourth straight year? I would have to think the Day School would figure out a way to win again. They should have scheduled that for the MLK day. That would have produced some fans in the seats at the coliseum.

  • dewright said,

    Man, correcting the ignorance of some people on this forum could be a full-time job. Tiger Fan, here you go — straight from the NCISAA website at http://www.ncisaa.org (and as I mentioned in a different thread, GDS has NEVER been accused or investigated for a SINGLE instance of wrongdoing. Not once):

    “H. SIX SEMESTER RULE. Students may participate in athletics in no more than six consecutive semesters or nine trimesters after enrolling in the 10th grade of any NCISAA member school, no more than four consecutive semesters after enrolling in the 11th grade of any NCISAA member school, and no more than two consecutive semesters after enrolling in the 12th grade at any NCISAA member school, regardless of whether he/she remains continuously enrolled. A student transferring from one NCISAA school to another at mid-year would be considered to have used up one semester of athletic eligibility for that school year.”

    If you are whining about a kid who came to GDS after his 9th grade year and was reclassified as a 9th grader upon arrival at GDS, think about one of two things: 1) You are crying about getting lit up by a 14 year-old, or more likely, 2) the academic rigors of GDS, compared to Guilford County Schools, necessitate that student repeating the freshman year in order to get up to speed for the academic requirements of later years at GDS.