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GREENSBORO, N.C. – – The 46th HAECO Invitational is set for December 20-22, 2022 at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center. Pre-tournament notes along with the tournament seeds and brackets are below:
HAECO Americas and Aviation Careers: As part of its effort to expose Piedmont Triad high school students to their industry and encourage them to discover the available career opportunities in the aviation and aerospace fields, HAECO staff will be onsite throughout the HAECO Invitational to talk with students and their parents who want to learn more about HAECO and the aviation industry at large. HAECO personnel will be located just inside the tournament’s main entrance giving families the opportunity to stop by on their way in or out of the tournament.
Back to the Future: Last year, the name of the tournament was the HAECOisHiring.com Invitational; it was changed to raise awareness of HAECO’s hiring website for those who are interested in working for the international aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company. After introducing the website last year, the tournament returns to its traditional name, the HAECO Invitational. The employment website, www.haecoishiring.com, remains the place to visit for anyone interested in exploring a career in aviation.
New Earlier Tournament Dates: For the first time in its nearly five-decade history, the HAECO Invitational is being played before the holidays. While the tournament is only one week earlier than its traditional dates, the change is significant. For the first time, families can travel for the holidays without having to return home on Christmas Day to begin the tournament the next day. Tournament organizers hope this change will allow families more flexibility to rest, relax and enjoy the holidays.
Welcome Bishop McGuinness High School: The HAECO Invitational welcomes a tournament newcomer this year: Bishop McGuinness High School. The Villains join the HAECO one year after Southeast Guilford High School returned to the HAECO Invitational for the first time since the 1980s. Bishop McGuinness replaces Northwest Guilford High School.
Championship Game Teams Celebrate at HAECO: HAECO Invitational championship and runner-up teams will be invited to HAECO for a championship celebration and tour of the facility. The four teams participating in the HAECO Invitational championship games will be invited to the celebration in early January at HAECO’s Piedmont Triad International Airport headquarters. Winning teams in the four semifinal games will receive additional information after their semifinal victories.
Contributions to the Schools: Many things make the HAECO Invitational exceptional, but what makes it unique is that tournament proceeds are donated to charity and the participating schools. Last year, the tournament donated $10,750 to each participating school for a total of $86,000. In recent years, the Greensboro Sports Council made the following donations to the HAECO Invitational participating schools: 2008: $96,000, 2009: $80,000, 2010: $86,000, 2011: $100,000, 2012: $108,000, 2013: $112,000, 2014: $112,000, 2015: $112,000, 2016: $100,000, 2017: $100,000, 2018: $80,000, 2019: $100,000, 2020: $22,000 (no tournament), 2021: $86,000. That’s a total of $1,294,000 since 2008.
Follow the HAECO: The HAECO Invitational is on social media – follow the HAECO on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @HAECOInvit.
Charity: In addition to making its donations to the participating schools, the HAECO Invitational makes charitable contributions. This year, HAECO Invitational chairs, Tyler Key and Charlie Hall, selected Hands for Hearts for the tournament’s charitable donation. The Hands for Hearts mission is to affect positive changes in the lives of children born with congenital heart defects, the No. 1 birth defect in both the United States and the world and the leading cause of infant mortality. For more information, please visit www.handsforhearts.org.
Past tournament proceeds have been contributed to Out of the Garden Project, Backpack Beginnings, Greensboro Urban Ministries, Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test, the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer, the Bryan Family YMCA, the Children’s Home Society, the Eastern Guilford High School Fund, the Joey Cheek Fund, North Carolina State Games, the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s ‘Learn to Swim’ program, The First Tee of the Triad, the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, Ready for School, Ready for Life and Youth Focus.
Bill Lee Scholarship: The Bill Lee Scholarship is awarded to four HAECO Invitational participants each year. Since its inception in 2001, 89 high school seniors have now been awarded this scholarship which was established in memory of Bill Lee, a Greensboro native and resident who was a major supporter of local sports. He was deeply involved with Greensboro’s minor league baseball efforts, basketball and golf. The Greensboro Sports Council established the scholarship following Lee’s death in 2001. Recipients are nominated by their schools, and the Greensboro Sports Council awards the scholarships. Each nomination is considered with the following criteria: 40% academic, 40% athletic and 20% civic. Four student-athletes receive a $2,000 scholarship each year.
The Tournament: More than four decades ago, seven Greensboro Sports Council members envisioned a high school basketball tournament that would raise funds for its participating schools, Dudley, Grimsley, Page and Smith High Schools – the big four Greensboro public schools. The HAECO Invitational was founded in 1976 as the Little 4. At that time, the “Big Four” Atlantic Coast Conference schools, Duke, N.C. State, UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest, competed in the Big 4 Tournament in the Greensboro Coliseum. The HAECO Invitational was created to mirror the tournament that showcased North Carolina’s ACC teams. In 1978, the tournament expanded to eight teams with Ragsdale, High Point Andrews, High Point Central and Thomasville High School joining the original four. In 1979 and ’80, the tournament returned to its original schools before expanding to eight teams permanently in 1981. The women’s side of the tournament began in 1980. For a more complete look at tournament history, please visit https://www.HAECOInvitational.com/.
2021 Tournament Recap: The HAECO Invitation returned to a mostly-normal event last year following the canceled tournament in 2020. In the women’s tournament, the sixth-seeded Southeast Guilford Falcons made the most of their return to the HAECO Invitational knocking off fifth-seeded Page High School 48-30 in the championship game. Playing in their first HAECO since the 1980s, Southeast upset Smith High School and second-seeded Ragsdale High School on the way to the championship game. The men’s tournament was a familiar storyline as Greensboro Day School defeated Grimsley High School 64-49 to reclaim the title. The Bengals defeated Southeast Guilford and Smith High School on the way to the championship game. It was the 18th HAECO title for both coach Freddy Johnson and Greensboro Day School.
The Greensboro Day School men won their seventh-consecutive tournament championship in 2017 and made tournament history. No other team had ever won seven-consecutive titles. Going back to their 2011 title, the Bengals won 23 consecutive HAECO Invitational games before losing to Northwest Guilford in the 2018 championship game.
Greensboro Day men’s coach Freddy Johnson is the only coach in tournament history who won seven-consecutive HAECO Invitational titles. His seven-year run (2011-’17) followed the four-year run he enjoyed during 2005-’08. Johnson has 18 HAECO Invitational titles – more than any other coach in tournament history. Coach Johnson is a member of the North Carolina and Guilford County Sports Halls of Fame.
The Greensboro Day School men have enjoyed an impressive presence in the HAECO Invitational championship game. The Bengals played for the title in each of the last 10 tournaments and 14 of the last 16 tournaments.
The Page High School women (1988–’92), the Western Guilford women (1992-’95), the Greensboro Day School men (2005-’08) and the Northwest Guilford women (2014-’17) are the only teams that won four consecutive HAECO Invitational titles.
The Greensboro Day School men lead the overall HAECO Invitational history with 18 tournament championships; Page High School leads the women’s tournament history with 13 tournament titles.
Former Page High School coaches Luke McKeel, Deborah Jones and Kathy Turner won the Pirates’ 13 HAECO Invitational women’s championships. McKeel won seven of the first nine tournaments, Jones won four including three straight from 2011-’13, and Turner won the other two Lady Pirate titles.
Either Page High School or Northwest Guilford played in every women’s championship game since 2003, a span of 18 tournaments (the tournament was canceled in 2020). In addition, either the Lady Vikings or the Lady Pirates won nine of the last 11 tournaments. Northwest Guilford is no longer a participating school.
Page star Paris Kea is the only three-time MVP in tournament history earning that honor in 2011, ’12 and ’13. Five players did it twice, but only the former Page Pirate did it three times.
Women’s Stats: The Page Pirates have won more women’s tournaments than any other school with 13 titles. The Lady Pirates have played for the championship 18 times, also more than any other team.
Championships Title Game Appearances Page High School 13 Page High School 18 Northwest Guilford 8 Northwest Guilford 14 Page High School 5 Smith High School 10 Western Guilford 4 Dudley High School 9 Smith High School 3 Grimsley High School 7 Northeast Guilford 3 Western Guilford 6 Ragsdale High School 2 Northeast Guilford 5 Southeast Guilford 1 Ragsdale High School 3 Dudley High School 1 Northern Guilford 2 Eastern Guilford 1 Southeast Guilford 1
Men’s Stats: Greensboro Day School has won more men’s championships than any other school taking top honors 18 times in 23 title-game appearances.
Championships Title Game Appearances Greensboro Day 18 Greensboro Day School 23 Dudley High School 10 Dudley High School 19 Page High School 8 Grimsley High School 14 Grimsley High School 6 Page High School 13 Smith High School 2 Smith High School 9 Northwest Guilford 1 Northwest Guilford 4 Ragsdale High School 1 Northern Guilford 2 Northeast Guilford 2 Southeast Guilford 1 Southwest Guilford 1 Eastern Guilford 1
Women's Wins by Coach: Men's Wins by Coach: Darlene Joyner (NWG) 7 Freddy Johnson (GDS) 18 Luke McKeel (PHS) 7 Mac Morris (PHS) 7 Deborah Jones (PHS) 4 David Price (DHS) 7 Ginger Moore (WG) 4 Phil Weaver (GHS) 4 Phil Weaver (GHS) 3 Lee Reavis (NWG) 1 Mike Bradley (NEG) 2 Darren Corbett (GHS) 1 Rick Hartsook (GHS) 2 Bill Chambers (DHS) 1 Kathy Turner (PHS) 2 Jack Chatham (DHS) 1 Ben Bradford (RHS) 1 Steve Hankins (DHS) 1 Haley Hackett (NWG) 1 Robert Kent (PHS) 1 Kris Britton (DHS) 1 Art Wade (SHS) 1 Hank Bullard (SHS) 1 Bill Walton (GHS) 1 Crystal Hazelwood (NEG) 1 Ashton Jeffries (SHS) 1 Lou Roshelli (SHS) 1 Rachel Clark (SEG) 1 Jerry Fuqua (RHS) 1
Winning Coaches: Of the 16 men and women coaching in this year’s HAECO Invitational, only three have won the tournament. Freddy Johnson won all 18 of his HAECO Invitational titles at Greensboro Day; Ben Bradford led the Ragsdale Tigers to their first women’s championship in 2018 and Darren Corbett led Grimsley to the title in 2009.
Welcome New Coaches: The HAECO Invitational welcomes four coaches making their first HAECO Invitational appearances: Brian Robinson (Bishop McGuinness women), Josh Thompson (Bishop McGuinness men), Ren Stewart (Ragsdale women) and Hannah Revis (Southeast women).
Overtime Championships: The HAECO Invitational championship game has gone to overtime only four times, and all of them involved the Greensboro Day School Bengals. The first two were between Dudley and Greensboro Day. In 1987, Greensboro Day beat Dudley 57-55 in Greensboro Day’s first HAECO Invitational appearance. In 1992, the tables were turned as the Panthers beat the Bengals 66-63 when Vincent Whitt hit a three pointer at the end of overtime. In 2013, the title tilt included the Bengals and Page High School; the second-seeded Bengals upset the top-seeded Pirates 53-51 after one extra stanza. In 2018, second seeded Northwest Guilford upset the top-seeded Bengals 68-67 in overtime.
2022 Participating Schools: Bishop McGuinness High School, Dudley High School, Greensboro Day School, Grimsley High School, Page High School, Ragsdale High School, Smith High School and Southeast Guilford High School.
Tickets: HAECO Invitational tickets are available through the participating schools or at the Greensboro Coliseum Box Office. Tournament books containing tickets for all games are $20. Single-session tickets are $10 for the opening and semi-final rounds and $15 for championship day. Single session tickets are only available at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center box office.
2022 Women’s Seeds
2)Smith High School
3)Greensboro Day School
4)Dudley High School
5)Southeast Guilford High School
6)Page High School
7)Ragsdale High School
8)Grimsley High School
2022 Men’s Seeds
1)Greensboro Day School
2)Smith High School
3)Grimsley High School
4)Dudley High School
5)Southeast Guilford High School
6)Ragsdale High School
7)Page High School
Games for Day 1 December 20:
No. 1 Bishop McGuinness vs. No. 8 Grimsley
3 p.m./Court 1
No. 4 Dudley vs. No. 5 Southeast
4:30 p.m./Court 1
No. 2 Smith vs. No. 7 Ragsdale
5:30 p.m./Court 2
No. 3 GSO Day vs. No. 6 Page
7 p.m./Court 2
No. 1 GSO Day vs. No. 8 Bishop McGuinness
6 p.m./Court 1
No. 4 Dudley vs. No. 5 Southeast Guilford
No. 2 Smith vs. No. 7 Page
No. 3 Grimsley vs. No. 6 Ragsdale
4 p.m./Court 2
About the HAECO Invitational:
The HAECO Invitational is an annual high school basketball tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Founded in 1976 as the Little 4 Invitational, the tournament features men’s and women’s teams representing eight high schools located in or around Guilford County. The tournament is played at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Tournament proceeds are donated to local charities and the participating schools; the HAECO Invitational is planned and presented by the Greensboro Sports Council. For more information, please visit www.HAECOInvitational.com and follow the event on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @HAECOinvit.