Northern Guilford was the stop on Saturday for the Piedmont Basketball Challenge, the brain-child of Coach Stan Kowalewski and Coach Kenny Carter. Coach K is the boys head coach at Northern and Coach Cater is man in charge of the girls team at High Point Central.
The Challenge began at High Point Central a few years back and now has relocated to the Northern Guilford campus out off of Spencer Dixon Road. Fourteen games with 28 teams coming in for the day and there were school buses in the Nighthawk parking lot from all over the place.
I got there at about 5:30 and the Trinity Bulldogs were battling the Demons from Winston-Salem Reynolds in the main gym. The Reynolds boys versus the Trinity boys and boy what a game from the Bulldogs’ Josh Pittman. Trinity wins the game 69-65 and Pittman pumps in 50 points. I don’t care who you are playing, 50 points is 50 points, and WS Reynolds is no slouch. UNCG coach Mike Dement was sitting down in front of me, and he was making notes as fast as his pen would allow.
Trinity coach Mike Kelly has himself a player and his Bulldog team is going to be tough for the 3-A teams to beat and I for one, sure wouldn’t want to be coaching against him. Go ahead and get set for the Ragsdale-Trinty games in Jamestown and at the Dog’s place in Trinity, when the Tiger’s Jay Canty and Pittman get going, you may need a new set of lights on the scoreboards.
I took in the Northern Guilford-Trinity girls game and although not quite as exciting as the boy’s games, it was impressive none the less and especially interesting to see just how much the Northern Guilford girls have improved since last season. Coach Kim Furlough has strengthened her system and now that many of her Nighthawks are juniors, they are a year older, stronger, and wiser. The NG girls defeated Trinity 47-44. Coach Furlough uses many players within her system and standouts from Saturday included Kelly Tessitore, Tenesha Williamson, Alexis Robinson, Jessica Johnson, Molly Tahmaseb and Vontreece Hayes. Samantha Coffer is probably the top returning player on the team, but I did not her name being called out by PA man Chris Jones very often on Saturday. Maybe missing, maybe fouls, maybe injury.
The Northern boys beat the defending State 2-A Champion Winston-Salem prep squad by around 20 points and there are a number of remarks we can make about that game. WS Prep lost some players off of last year’s title team but by the way they played you couldn’t tell it. WS Prep is very athletic and their coach is huge. Andre Gould must weigh 475 pounds and it makes you wonder if this man didn’t set some pretty mean picks back in his day. WS Prep also has one of the best if not, “The Best”, cheerleading squad in the state and maybe one of the best in the nation. These girls have moves like you have never seen before.
The Northern Guilford boys basketball team is the type of team you could watch play hoops every day of the week. They have that much talent, and it is not one player. NG has loads of talent and they have so many different types of players with the different talents. Every scout around is watching big 6’7 Jacob Lawson. In shot-blocking talent alone, this kid is unreal. I do believe today’s players get more engery from blocking shots than they do from slam dunks. Jonathan Frye had his hands full since the WS Prep “D” was all over him but he still managed to control the entire flow of the game.
For the Northern Guilford Nighthawks, the game and the ball must go through Jonathan Frye’s hands in order for them to be successful. Frye had his customary three’s and he was in the passing lanes defensively keepig WS Prep in check and again he hasn’t seen any tougher defense than what WS Prep was playing on him.
Frye and Lawson are the cornerstones of the Nighthawk program, but with the addition of Christian McCain you have a power player that can control the inside like no other. McCain is so strong and his rebounds are at the max. Don’t try and mess with this guy he is the boss on the low blocks.
Asad Lamont runs the show and you have JR Grant on the inside and then Michael Neal on the outside and Dylan Berry can light it up with his outside shots. More coming later on this game.
As we said earlier, the NG Nighthawks are loaded and they have depth. The starting lineup will consist primarily of Lawson, Frye, Grant, Berry, and Lamont. Then here comes McCain, Michael Neal(who had 19 on Saturday and several buckets came on pull up shots by the point guard), Justin Mitchell, Victor Dillard(a wide-body who looks like a more recent version of a 6’1 Wes Unseld), John McBeth, and Carlos Rankins. The Nighthawks are 9-10 deep and you could put their top seven up against any team in the state.
These guys are good and they are only going to get better as they continue to get smarter and that is what Coach K is continually asking of his men and especially Jacob Lawson. You need to get smarter and play smarter and you will begin to play better. Like I said last year, “keep an eye on these kids”.
The Grimsley boys were winners and the High Central girls were losers on Saturday. The Dudley girls ripped all eight legs off the Concord Spiders(Arachnids) and the Panthers were led by Helen “Ready” Terry with 25 points. The Dudley girls will be state title contenders again this year, in this Helen Ready’s senior season.
Other winners were the Ragsdale girls, who held on to win a close one and they were paced again by Courtney Arrington and Lisa Archie. I am not sure how the Greensboro Day boys came out, no score on them in today’s N&R and I didn’t see any Bengals out at Northern last night.
Basketball is here and like the Champ John Cena says, “Da Champ” is Herahhhhhhhhh!!!!!