Special to Greensborosports.com from outside the Greensborosports.com staff…..
1. Page: They were the Champions and congratulations for the accomplishment with in
itself. Did they play well? They beat NEG 52-18 which does not have a good team and does not seems to be headed in any direction. If they win six games this year their coach should be State coach of the year. They beat Greensboro Day 48-41 who does have a solid team that used to be the doormat of the Pizza Hut Tourney for years and not ever being in this position of prosperity, they squandered away a
golden opportunity. They beat Northwest Guilford for the Championship game 56-45.
Northwest Guilford came into the tourney with a record of 2-7 and a number #2 seed.
Northwest Guilford has not been playing well all year. Paris Kea was chosen the MVP
of the tournament but was not really outstanding becuase no player really stood out
from the rest. Kayla Johnson played very well in stretches and seemed more of the
agressor and showed more toughness for Page at the times when
they needed it and could have easily been chosen the MVP. She at least made the All
Tournament team. Debresha Barnes (All Tournament), Cheslsey Coleman and Hannah
Pegram were the difference in the championship game . Going forward Page is off to
a 12-2 start and they have great coaching. Can they win the conference title which
is their next goal? Yes, it is reachable. Can they win the Conference Tournament
Title? Yes, that is reachable as well? Can they go very deep in the State playoffs?
That remains a question mark unless they get to play teams like Northeast and
Northwest early on to advnace and have early home court advantage. Page strength
is coaching staff and good solid role players. Weakness? Their main player has a
difficult time with more athletic agressive guards that can play and have a
tendency to turn the ball over often.
2. Northwest Guilford: They should feel good about themselves going forward after a
dismal season thus far. Reaching any championship game is a well deserved
accomplishment. Coach Joyner will have this team ready to play the second half of
this season. They were more physical than Smith, a team that was capable of
winning the Pizza Hut Tournament. Spring Hill signee Natalie Harper(All Tournament)
and Alyssa Munson (All Tournament) must set the pace and let the rest of the team
know that the losing stops now. If they do not establish that right now this is
going to be a very long and frustrating season and could be one of their worst in
years. Their point guard Brandi Burrell plays hard but must learn how to convert on
scoring opportunities or else when Harper, Munson and a occasionally good game from
Mcgee is not working this team will struggle against even average teams. They do not
have the luxury of a lot of mistakes against good athletic
teams that can play and execute. Can they turn it around? That is a 50/50
response. Will they turn it around? The answer will lie in the first three games
after the Holiday break. A lot of question marks are surrounding this team and they
3. Greensboro Day: Off to best start in years and they should feel really good about
themselves. A 14-3 record is not bad and any team would like to have that at this
stage. What is not good is that they were on the BIG STAGE at the Tournament and did
not perform when it counted most. They were by far the most talented team in the
tourney but key players did not step up when it was needed most against Page. They
did however came back and derailed Smith 57-37 whom had already checked out mentally
for the holidays after losing to Northwest Guilford. They finished third and it was
their highest finish ever. Taneesha Conners (All Tournament Team) played very
agressive and smart through out the tourney. She destroyed her former school
Northern Guilford in the first round with penetrations, steals and freethrows at
crucial moments in the 44-39 win. She forced Page’s Paris Kea into several turnovers
and held her to a very low shooting percentage. Ronata Rogers
averaged 9.6 ppg during the Tournament and only scored 4 against Page in a crucial
game that should have created a match up problem. It never materialized even though
she did attempted several shots and had scoring opportunities. She did however
finished with 21 points against Smith to help team finish 3rd. Marquee players find
away to perform in big time games. Appalachian State signee Khadeja Wilkerson
played very well against Page 14 points and created a matchup problem that Page had
no answer for. However down the stretch the team got away from what was working and
it cost them a possible championship. Tamera Thorpe averaged 8.6 ppg during the
tournament. That was well below her season average of around 15 ppg. Caroline Spurr
had good moments and averaged 7.3 ppg but must learn how to manage the game better
in crucial type games and stay with in ones ability. All of the main players
averaged between 7 to 9 points per game. The danger in that is no
one becomes the closer in big games. Greensboro Day will have a great season and
will learn from this.
4. Smith: They will admit that they did not have a good tournament. Any time you go
1-2 or 0-3 during this period, it could have a carry over if it is not handled right
immediately. Smith beat Ragsdale 43-36 which is definately not a good team (3-10).
When a team that should be dominant have poor execution against very subpar teams,
it tends to have a carry over. It happened against Northwest Guilford (4-8) 40-32 .
It ended with the blow out loss to Greensboro Day 57-37. Smith team is standing at
9-5 which is not bad. But the team does not have a team leader on the floor that is
not afraid to get up in teammates faces and lead by example by demonstrating through
their actions that this is not the Smith team of the past that looks like they are
ready to turn the corner but end up going in the other direction. Who is that
leader? Greer, Phillips, Robinson? Leadership is never assumed. It is earned.
Normally if the senior leadership is not strong, a team
normally will collapse and never recover. Brandi Robinson had a solid tournament
with 33 points in three games for an 11.0 average and a strong finish of 12 pts and
13 rebounds against Greensboro Day. Now she must find away to get the others to
follow or this promising season can turn into disaster especially if they do not
get off to a fast start at the beginning of January.
5. Northern Guilford: Finished 2-1 in the tournament. Beating Northeast 0-10 (53-26)
and Grimsley 1-11 ( 51-30). Their only loss was to Greensboro Day 44-39. Northern
may not have benefited in the long run by playing the likes of Northeast and
Grimsley in the long run no matter how the seasting was drawn. Sometimes losing to
stronger competition molds a team better in the long run. Their were several bright
spots led by Alexis Robinson who continues to be consistent on both nds of the court
and does a great job of attacking the basket. Amanda Coffer continues to swat shots
away and becomes the last line of defense. Aliyah Grinage does well underneath but
has not shown the ability to knock down the mid range jumpers yet. Gabby Boys
continues to improve and does provide hustle. Sydney Wilson has become their best
outside shooting threat and has the ability to knock down a three and the midrange.
Does not handle real pressure well yet but experience will
help in the years to come. Northern goes into the New Year 10-3 and 3-0 conference
record and is the odds on favorite to win it all.
6. Ragsdale, Grimsley and Northeast Guilford are all in the same category and there
is not much to talk about. It will be interesting to see which one of these teams
emerges by the end of the season from the bottom of the barrow ranks.