2015 Haeco Invitational Finals Preview- Wyatt Smith Reporting

2015 Haeco Invitational Women’s Finals Preview
#1 Northwest Guilford vs. #2 Page

For the fourth time in the last five years, the Haeco Invitational Women’s Final will feature Northwest Guilford. Two of those four appearances were losses against their opponent in this year’s final, the Page Pirates, who have advanced to the championship game three out of the last four years. The last two meetings in the tournament final between the Pirates and Vikings were in 2011 and 2013, with Page claiming the title both years.

The Pirates have a record 13 championships in 18 appearances. Northwest has been to the title game 10 times in the last 13 years, with four championship wins.

Both head coaches, Deborah Jones of Page and Darlene Joyner of Northwest, have four career Haeco Invitational Championships. The two are tied for second in all time Haeco Invitational Championships with Ginger Moore of Western Guilford. One of them will take sole possession of second place on Tuesday afternoon. Page comes into the title game with a record of (7-2) and the Vikings are unbeaten on the year with a record of (11-0).

One of the Pirates’ losses this season came at the hands of the same Vikings team they will face Tuesday. The final score of that Dec. 3rd matchup was 47-34.

Page got to the championship game by beating the number four seed Northern Guilford Nighthawks in the first women’s semi-final game on Monday afternoon by a score of 53-45. The Pirates were led offensively by Bailey Kargo, who scored 19 points, and by Roxanne Pfenning who scored 15.

Page coach Deborah Jones said the win was due to limiting second-chance and transition points in the second half.
“We know that both (Dudley and Northwest) are well-coached,” Jones said. “Both teams are very good on the offensive boards.”

The Vikings faced a determined Dudley team whom they had already beaten this year in their semi-final game. The Panthers and Vikings played on December 17th, with Northwest dominating 72-44. When the two teams met on Monday in the semi-final, the Panthers gave the Vikings more of a challenge. The Vikings were victorious, however, winning by a score of 68-55.

Savannah Neas led the Viking scoring Monday with 16 points and added 5 rebounds off Coach Joyner’s bench. Hayley Barber and Bria Gibbs also had double-digit scoring with 14 and 10 points respectively.

“We had two good quarters back-to-back,” Joyner said. “The second and third quarters were where we were able to blow them out a little bit, and we shot the ball better.”

“We have to be on our ‘A’ game and execute on both ends of the court,” Joyner said were the keys to victory for her Lady Vikings on Tuesday in the championship game.

Coming into the Invitational, the Vikings were the number one seed, and the Pirates were the second, so it’s fitting that the two teams will meet in the tournament final.

2015 Haeco Invitational Men’s Finals Preview
#1 Greensboro Day School vs #2 Northwest Guilford

The 2015 Haeco Invitational Men’s Championship game will be a rematch of last year’s game, featuring the top-seeded Greensboro Day Bengals and the second seed Northwest Vikings. The Bengals beat the Vikings in 2014 by a score of 67-57 and have been the Haeco Invitational Champions the past four years.

It’s quite an impressive record, and it will take an impressive effort to break that streak.

No other coach comes close to Greensboro Day’s Freddy Johnson in Haeco titles, with 13. The Vikings head coach Lee Reavis looks to win his first Haeco Invitational Championship as the two teams play on Tuesday night at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center on Court 1.

The Vikings come into the game with an overall record of (9-1); the Bengals’ record is (16-3). Both teams have dynamic shooters and play a fast-paced game that will be sure to entertain. This will be a game you don’t want to miss, as Northwest looks to get revenge from last year and Greensboro Day School looks to win its fifth-straight Haeco Invitational Championship.

The GDS Bengals faced the fourth seed Northern Guilford Nighthawks in the semi-final on Monday night, and although they were victorious by a score of 52-40, the Nighthawks forced the Bengals to make 11 turnovers, and drew 19 fouls.

John Newman led the Bengals with 13 points, and Pearce Landry was 4-7 from three point range, for a total of 12 points on the night. The game was a low scoring contest, and that allowed Northern to stay in the game.

With just over three minutes to play, the Nighthawks cut the lead to 5, but that was as close as they would come to victory. Coach Freddy Johnson called a timeout, regrouped his troops, and the Bengals held on for the win.

“I thought Northern did a very good job of taking us out of our game, and outplayed us tonight,” Johnson said postgame.

“Foul trouble really hurt us,’ he added. We’re going to have to play better than we played tonight if we’re going to beat a team like Northwest or Dudley.”

Northwest played a very physical game against the Dudley Panthers to advance to the finals for a second year in a row.
The Vikings jumped out to an early 11-0 lead, with all 11 points scored by Tre Turner.

Dudley’s first points didn’t come until 4:37 in the first quarter, but they came roaring back and trailed by only one point at the end of the quarter. Although the Vikings allowed Dudley to get back into the game, Northwest continued to battle—especially one player, a familiar name to football fans, Thomas Hennigan.

Hennigan put the Vikings on his back, scoring 26 points off the bench with eight rebounds and four steals to lead his team to victory.

“A lot of people ask why I don’t start,” Hennigan said, “but I like it because I can come off the bench and provide a second wind when we need it.”

When asked his prediction about going into a game against a team that has won four straight championships, Hennigan’s answer was short and sweet: “It’s not going to be five.”

In other stats, Dudley’s Brandon Lambert had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Josh Hopkins scored 14 points with 7 rebounds.

“I’m proud of our kids. We kept our composure,” Northwest coach Lee Reavis said postgame. “Greensboro Day plays a very different style of basketball than the team we played tonight. (The Bengals) are going to execute and they’re going to be good at what they do.”

Northwest Guilford has an opportunity to sweep the men’s and women’s Haeco Invitational Championship games if they can outplay two very strong opponents.

Tip-off for the women’s game is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Court 1 at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center, with the men’s game to follow at 7:15. Tickets are available at the Special Events Center box office. If you can’t make it to the game, GreensboroSports Radio will have full coverage of both games, accessed by clicking here GreensboroSportsRadio or by visiting Greensborosports.com and clicking the GreensboroSports Radio link at the top of the page.

The radio broadcast will also be available inside the arena on 97.7FM with Andy Durham and Dennis White with the call.

A full post game recap for both the men’s and women’s games will be available at Greensborosports.com