Reflections on the first couple of days at the Haeco Invitational Basketball Tournament:Buzzer-beater shots/few close games/Tradition

Posted by Andy Durham on December 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm under High School | 25 Comments to Read

It might sound kind of absent-minded/stupid for me to mention Buzzer-beaters and few close games in the same sentence/headline/post title, BUT, we have seen several Buzzer-beater shots and the lack of close games has raised some eyebrows…With both of those points being established and we will detail them further a few lines later on, you have to remember what keeps this Tournament churning….

TRADITION….Who day and night must travel for a living, feed his wife and children say his daily prayers???? Any coach that coaches in this “Hello Haeco” for a number of seasons…Or anyone that truly realizes the importance and TRADITION that this holiday basketball tournament exemplifies…

It is all about the “TRADITION”…..Year after year schools, their teams, their coaches and fans keep on coming back for the Haeco/Timco/Pizza Hut/Little Four Tournament and although there is no “Fiddler on the Roof”, you might think there is, when you listen to basketball musicana that is coming from the hardwood floors of the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center…

And “What’s Up With That” talk about the Buzzer-beaters and the lack of close games…

I have seen at least three Buzzer-beater shots go up this week and they came at the end of quarters of games that were not all that close, but the shots still beat the buzzer and they were last-second shots, that defied that basket light that goes RED as the quarters end/finish…

All three came from Northwest Guilford if my memory has not left me on a late Christmas Vacation and those shots were #1 Jalen Gore(Northwest Guilford), #2 Tre Turner(Northwest Guilford) and #3 Sam Covington(Northwest Guilford)….I’m pretty sure I have the right team and there may be a name or two out-of-order, but I know for sure that I am in the right city….

Here we go with the games that we have covered and at the end, none were close calls at all….Day One Men:Smith 64, Northern Guilford 46….Northwest Guilford 83, Northeast Guilford 54, Greensboro Day School 68, Ragsdale 30 and Page 76, Grimsley 46…Day Two Men:Northwest Guilford 81, Smith 66, Greensboro Day School 50, Page 33….GDS-Page was tied 10-10 at the end of the first quarter…Day Two Women:Northwest Guilford 57, Greensboro Day School 41 and Northern Guilford 55, Page 35…

Not many, if any, close games at all, but they have still been fun and that goes back to the TRADITION of the tournament….You can wait around a couple days for the excitement to build up and not too many fans were sweating it out on Friday or Saturday, but that is all about to change….

The Northwest Guilford men are going to beat Greensboro Day in the finals and the Northern Guilford women will top Northwest….

That would be #2 taking down #1 in both Championship Contests……

This will mark the first visit/trip for both the NWG men and the NG women to the final game/Championship Game stage and wouldn’t that be something if that took place like we were saying…

You still have to lean with the #1 seeds in those final games, but I do feel things are about to change and you better buy your tickets in advance, get them Monday morning from somebody, because we are about to be treated to tight games in the Finales…..

Here we go….Do you agree or disagree???

The Northern and Northwest girls played a 55-52 game that Northwest won back in the first game of the season for both teams and it was played at Northwest…..NWG got big and strong early and they led by 10 or more, but Northern battled back and made it very close/tight at the end….

I know a few things about these two that many others know…..NWG has a very talented Top Five and we saw these young girls back last year when they were still girls and now they are women….Strong Top Five and depth on the bench…..Barber, Tucker, Pointer, Newman and Neas with Moore, Wallace and Gibbs coming in reserve…That is eight deep and some teams would be glad to be four deep, believe me, I am right on this and NWG can run and move without the ball and with Barber running the show, Tucker shooting lights out, Hunter Newman being very unselfish and willing to set up her teammates, Neas nailing those outside shots and Pointer in the post, with Pointer having the ability to step back and shoot out of the lane too, you have a very nice formula….

Northern can counter with veteran Sydney Wilson at point, Kasey Johnson being able to shoot outside, but still being able to go inside, Sammi Furlough with the flow of a strong perimeter presence, the freshman Elissa Cunane might be first team All-Tournament if she has big game in the finals and she can post up on you and also shoot free throws very accurately and there’s Kassie Robatkawiez, plus the Nighthawks have Kelly Lomax, who can post up and produce….

Northwest is deeper than Northern, but NG presents problems in the post….Cunane can make things happen in and around the lane….She has some potent post moves and like I said earlier, she can hit her free throws and so if you foul her, she is going to the line and she is going to hit the free throws….’Problems in the Post’ continue with Lomax able to score from the low block and she knows how to use the glass…She likes the low right block and so does Cunane and Kasey Johnson can drop down and get in the lane too…How do you train to stop Cunane in the lane and not go insane????? Morgan Pointer and Hunter Newman must get busy and shore up their low post awareness….Barber, Tucker and Neas must not allow the pass to enter the low post area and that means extra pressure on Sydney Wilson…..Might a case where Hayley Barber must go on Wilson and Leah Wallace must work on Wilson too…..Barber and Wallace did a very good job defensively on Tamera Thorpe from Greensboro Day in the semifinals….

You are saying, “If we are working to stop Cunane in the lane, why are worrying so much about Wilson”? Well, if you prevent Wilson from penetrating and getting the ball down to Cunane, then you have helped yourself out….Offense is going to mean a lot in the Women’s Championship, but the defense might just be the key we are looking for and NG has to stop NWG’s ability to run and NWG must ask Pointer and Newman to be ready to work overtime as they pledge their allegiance to protecting the basket on defense…And who is the defensive-stopper that can restrict Wilson’s movement into the paint/lane with the ball, as she tries to get Cunane fully engaged in this Title Tilt???

Good thing to remember here, I am not the basketball game-planer, I am the basketball junk-talker here….

It was once said, with basketball, men’s or women’s, “Nothing Could Be Finer, than to be in Carolina(North)”…….

It can be said in a similar vain, “Nothing Could Nicer, than having Jalen Spicer as your Slicer”……

Slicer, Slasher, Donner, Prancer, this kid Spicer is a basketball dancer and along with Jalen Gore, they can take you up and down the basketball floor…

How goes Spicer, is how goes Northwest Guilford and he, along with Gore, work very well together for the Northwest Guilford men…..

Greensboro Day School(18-0) vs. Northwest Guilford(11-0) in the men’s final coming up on Monday night…..

You got Spicer, you got Gore and here comes Darius Moore, from Greensboro Day…We see the matchup of D. Moore vs. J. Spicer at the PG spot and look out, GDS is deep, but NWG has depth too….

We just saw a Big Man Battle with Peter Agba vs. Xavier Hill-Mais back on Saturday night and come Monday evening, Greensboro Day will see a different look from the Viking post, with Reggie Davis…Reggie Davis is more like Reggie Miller, but Reggie Davis will get your attention pretty quick with his hops…This kid can get up and can I get an AMEN, that Davis has delivered the dunks….Top dunks/jams in the tourney from Davis??? Anybody joining me with an AMEN?

Davis will also get your attention pretty soon too when he steps outside, because he can nail the three….Smooth rotatation from Reggie….

If you are Greensboro Day you are saying, I not going to give you time to get those dunks or to step back and set up for the three…GDS will tell you, “Our Defense is going to negate/stop/hinder/halt your offense….

If Greensboro Day finds a way to force Spicer to change his game then you might be talking “Game Over”, but NWG has depth, like we were talking about earlier and watch out for Sam Covington, Tre Turner, Kevin Henry and even Riley Edwards with all of those young men having the ability to shoot from long-range and portray and nail the trey….

NWG would love to get to foul line versus GDS, but the Vikings will want to improve on their 21-35 night back on Saturday…The 35 visits is not bad at all, but NWG was at 60% and they had those 14 misses…Not sure if NWG can get up there 35 times vs. GDS, but Smith went to line 38 times vs. NWG and made 21….Tight NWG defense against Smith may mean more FT visits for the Eagles…Any way you look at it, NWG needs to hit more…In the Page game, the GDS Bengals only sent the Page Pirates up the line 13 times and for GDS, the Bengals were 8-11 at the line against Page….GDS at 72.7% on free throws Saturday and NWG at 60%, but NWG was up at the line 24 more times than GDS….

Oh, all of those comparisons and it comes down to who will guard Spicer and if he is bottled up, will Gore be able to take over the floor and mind the store for NWG…Who is going to be on Spicer? Will it be Darius Moore, in a classic PG vs. PG matchup….You kill yourself so much playing defense, you don’t have any offense left? I bet you NWG runs Kevin Henry on Darius Moore quite a bit, since Henry is an excellent defender for the Vikes…You might see Marquelle McIntyre on Spicer, since McIntyre is very physical….

Here is another comparative key for you and that would be “Points off the Bench”….NWG got 13 points from its bench on Saturday with 8 big ones from Riley Edwards, 3 from Kevin Henry and 2 from Jared Braiman….GDS got 20 points off of its bench Saturday night with 11 from JP Moorman and 9 from Pearce Landry….Can Landry shoot three’s??? He was 3-4 on Saturday and the kid can run off 7-8 in a-row if you leave him open….Moorman is a big body and he along with John Newman give the Bengals a boost off the bench on defense…..Another huge three-point threat that comes from NWG is Sam Covington, who was 5-8 from three-piont land and he had 21 BIG points on Saturday in the semis….

Spicer and Gore with 16 each on Saturday and that is 32 points, plus the 21 from Covington, giving you 43 points from your starting backcourt and NWG will need more point production from freshman Tre Turner on Monday, he had three points on Saturday….

The edge goes to Greensboro Day due to their experience and if the Bengals want to make it four straight titles they will have to find a way to get a handle on Jalen Spicer…Cover him tight on defense, but make him work harder on defense too and you find a way to get him into foul trouble and that helps….

Young team(NWG) vs. older team(GDS) and NWG has not been here before…Young NWG players will tell that this doesn’t matter, we are the first team to get here and we are ready….

We will find on Monday…..Can you ever be ready for GDS in the finals? In just about 24 hours the truth will come out…..

Stop Spicer and if you are the NWG women, you have the experience on Northern….NG will start two freshman and one of them is the biggest/tallest player in county….We said NWG needs to put an end to the post opportunities and they can do that be cutting off the pass at the point and that means defense on Sydney Wilson….For NG to win, they need to get off to good start…Did not have a good start at NWG, but did finish well….Sydney Wilson was 7-11 from the field with 15 total points back on Saturday for NG and she was a big part of the Nighthawk defense that held Tamera Thorpe to 8-30 shooting from the field….Kelly Lomax off the bench for NG can be very big down low with 12 points vs. Page back on Saturday…It will also require a big game from senior Kasey Johnson if NG is to win on Monday….NG could use Johnson at around 10 points on Monday, she was at 6 with 7 rebounds on Saturday…

Experience of NWG vs. a heavy dose of youth from NG on Monday and NWG has been there before, but NG is there for the very first time….

Who gets it on Monday? It will come down to what happens with Wilson and Johnson for NG, they are seniors and they would tell you and me that it is their time and NWG would tell you and me, that this is not our first time, “We have been here before and we know what to do”……

I can’t wait to find out….And as we have done so many times before, and like the people up in Mayberry have said before, “Andy, you have done wrote a book, dog”…….

Hope you like this inside look at our Holiday Tournament…..


  • Andy Durham said,

    One more we failed to include….

    Northwest Guilford women are (11-0)

    Northern Guilford women are (10-2)….Both NG losses came at the hands of NWG…..

  • NWG FAN said,

    Andy that’s right Northern girls have lost twice to NW this year. Second time was at Northern and they beat them by 14. It’s not gonna be an easy game but to pick Northern over NW? May be the fuel our girls need.

  • True Supporter said,

    When will the tournament sponsors & organizers realize the need for Dudley High School to return to the field for boys & girls. Another idea that would greatly help this tournament is the addition of other brackets and divisions in the field featuring local & nationally known public & private school teams like Frank Spencer (Winston-Salem) & High School Invitational (Raleigh). The Colisuem annex is an excellent facility & with the correct guidance, teams, & support this event could be the premier event in the state & one of the best events in the nation around Christmas & the holidays!

  • Andy Durham said,

    If you read on you will see the picks are hypothetical hoping ro arouse some good pre-game discussion and I do hope it works…

    You have to stick with the top seeds unless you see some sort of wide-open difference in 1 and 2…

    Hope this is a good post and we do lean toward the #1 seeds since both were there last year and the GDS men have won three in a-row…The NWG women were there last year finishing at #2 behind Page and with the experience that NWG picked up in 2013 they should be the favorite, but if the NG girls and NWG pull off the upsets, it will make things very interesting….

  • Teddy Roe said,

    Why would Dudley want a return to the Greensboro Day Invitational? Juco players on the court against HS athletes…I digress

  • Dave Smith said,

    Greensboro Day Invitational……. Shots fired at reclassified players I see! LOL!

    GDS does have a player who looks about 40!

    With all that said they are ranked Top 25 in the nation by MaxPreps & I do feel they need to play tougher competition. Can’t wait till they see HG3 and the Wesleyan boys.

  • Correction said,

    In the 2nd game NW girls beat NG by 10…51-41 with NG controlling most of the game til 4th qtr

  • appy said,

    @true supporter

    I would agree that the tournament was better and deeper when Dudley was a part of it. However, it was Dudley that decided they no longer wanted to be a part of it. They weren’t kicked out of the tournament. Also people are always talking about having a national tournament or better teams participating. Well GDS is a nationally ranked team. How do you think the other teams that are ranked nationally are any different than GDS? All of these schools have a chance to beat a nationally ranked team. They also have the opportunity to play a team that is probably better than any team they see during their conference season. It gives them the opportunity to grow and get better and beat a nationally recognized program. I bet they all like having that opportunity. I think the schedule for GDS should be a little tougher. But look at last year. They went to Florida and beat two nationally ranked teams before losing to Montverde who ended up being ranked #1 in the country. GDS will find out soon enough how good they are. Their conference is the toughest in the state. They may find out sooner. NW is very good and could very well beat GDS if they can continue to make 3’s and get turnovers the way they did the first two games.

  • Not Ready Yet NW said,

    Teams that are nationally ranked falling into 1 or 2 categories. Either you have not lost by your 10-12th game because 95% of all teams will suffer a loss by their 10th game or you have some high profile players similar to what Wesleyan currently has. If you have not loss and you have high profile players, then you get ranked in the top 10 early. The reality is that the GDS schedule has already had about 4 teams that would have beaten NW all 4 times. GDS still has to deal with teams such as Wesleyan and others with high profile players. The NW team has 3-4 players that could play on any of the private school teams such as GDS or WES or but guys 5-9 are not working at the level of a GDS or WES. Unless NW can hit a mountain of 3 point shots, they will lose by 15 or more. Most teams don’t see the level of defense that GDS brings in an entire year. Final score GDS 67 NW 55. 2015 will be the year that NW beats GDS in the finals when GDS losses this group of seniors.

  • NWG FAN said,

    @ correction u are correct it was by 10 pts. Probably one of the worst games we played as a team. The score was what 31-32 at the end of 3rd quarter so to say Northern CONTROLLED the game is funny!!! we palyed 3 quartes of terrible basketball and Northern was only up by 1??? And that my friend is why the game is 4 quarters and not 3.

  • NG upset ? said,

    So now the NW fan base is starting to make predictions and put their crest out. This is where being undefeated starts to get in your head. I would suggest that you play the game before talking. This game will come down to NW ability to hit the outside shots and NG ability to beat anyone off the dribble. Greensboro Day showed that the NW guards can be beat off the dribble and play lazy defense outside of the paint. If NG can dribble drive, then they will win because they are just as big (actually bigger) in the paint. I am predicting the NG upset NG 54 NW 51.

  • Vikes said,

    NG ladies may have one player taller inside, but taller doesn’t equal bigger, or stronger, or better. I’ll take the NWG post players over any in the state any day of the week, and twice on Monday. Both teams are talented, both teams have size, both teams are well coached. It will come down to who wants it more. And, the NWG girls are still VERY hungry for the win. Being undefeated has fueled them more. They’re not cocky, they’re confident and ready to put in the work.

  • Andy Durham said,

    The buildup for today’s Championship Games is very exciting…

    There’s lots of energy coming from those four teams that will take the court in just a few hours from now….

    NWG-NG
    GDS-NWG

  • Hold on partner said,

    NW is not strong inside. They are strong inside for this area because nobody has “biggest” anymore (girls 5’11” or more). NW and NG are the only teams in this area with 2 or more girls at 5’11” or more. When NW plays teams out of Raleigh or Charlotte with biggest that can actually move you will see what the difference looks like in the middle. Pointer is good on any team but the others are far too slow. When NW plays a team with a good big girl and good guards they will lose by 10 pts or more. If the NG guards can show up, then NG will take the game today.

  • Beg to differ said,

    NW is strong inside, Newman has stepped up this year, and Pointer, well she’s handled some of the top D1 national picks from the 2015 and 2016 classes for 2 years on the showcase circuit. Add in Freshman Gibbs and junior Harkey, they won’t give up much in the paint. And, don’t discount the NW guards, they step up to challenges. Most of all, this team is a true unit. They’ve played together for several years now and are like a well oiled machine.

  • Give It A Rest said,

    Once everyone gets past the smack talking between parents and other non-participants, they’ll see that today’s games should be a good ones. Good luck to all of the student athletes today, and the remainder of the season.

  • NWGHS fan said,

    Agree wholeheartedly with Give It A Rest. These teams all have the most important part of their seasons ahead of them after tonight’s games. Two competitive, well played games tonight would be the best for all 4 teams and their fans.

    Go Vikings!

  • Just a guy said,

    Beg to differ=Pointer Parent

  • Basketball Fan said,

    @ Not Ready Yet NW…Hold on to your 2015 Predictions and bold statement…I have a feeling your “dream team” there at Northwest Guilford, so you think, will probably be broken up, as many of the underclassman, like Reggie Davis, will and should Re-Class and go to GDS..If he was smart…The Bengals lose Senior leadership in Agba and Darius Moore, and it will be hard to replace those two, but with Freddy Johnson, nothing to worry about…So, careful what you wish for….I have a feeling tonight’s predictions though, you are spot on….Go Bengals!!!

  • Teddy Roe said,

    I’ve seen the attendance for the first sessions. Are people watching GDS play “Hoosiers” type basketball with grown men on their team? Someone offered me a free ticket to the game, but I prefer fake wrestling.

  • dead horse said,

    I think Dudley and some of the other programs would do best to seek out other tournaments over the Xmas holiday to compete in. The Little 4 was a great thing maybe 20 years ago when the championship games were played on the main court of the coliseum but now it’s outdated and no longer interesting.

  • Beg to differ=Pointer Parent said,

    Yup, yup! Pointer did her thing. Can’t nobody argue that!

  • Robert Jones said,

    Proved my point, right?

  • Give It A Rest said,

    What did I tell you? The student athletes in both games left it ALL on the floor, and the smack talking parents & non-participants had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the outcome. Congratulations to the NWG women and GDS men on the Haeco hardware, and well done NG women and NWG men as runners-up.

  • Lamont said,

    Congrats to the GDS men team. They play extremely hard & are very well coached. Winning 4 championships in a row is tough. Congrats to NW Guilford on making their 1st appearance. They have a great team & can hopefully make a late state playoff run. The county is lucky to have two good local teams.