Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday News and Notes

Call Mike Gainey a genius ... or perhaps the area's biggest fan of the Weather Channel. 

The Rocky Mount athletic director was instrumental in having the annual Nash County Holiday Basketball Tournament, for the first time in years, moved to before Christmas instead of immediately after it.

By dodging this recent snow storm, the county's teams got play in.

But so many down east hoop events face cancellation this week. In danger right now is the 35th Annual Eastern Carolina Classic, which was set to start Monday at Wilson Hunt.

The event, which has never been snowed out in its previous 34 years, is on thin ice, literally. The Classic, which was, ironically, first won by Rocky Mount in 1976 (62-56 over Saratoga Central), has been moved to a Tuesday start - weather permitting.

With all three Wilson County schools and Greene Central sending boys and girls teams to the affair, at least the opponents are all close by. But like Rocky Mount, Wilson got 12 inches of snow and the temperatures aren't expected to increase that much the next two days.

And Lamm Road, where Hunt is located, is a two-lane country road. 

Not so long ago, much less snow and ice on another two-lane country road, Golf Course Road in front of Northern Nash, forced the postponement of that year's Nash County tourney.

Good luck to you guys in Wilson County.

GRYPHON KILLER - Northern Nash junior guard Michael Brackett made the winning shot - a 12-footer with less than two seconds remaining - in the Knights' 56-54 win over the Gryphons for the Nash County Holiday Basketball Tournament title last Wednesday.

Would you believe Brackett has actually played for Rocky Mount head coach Mike Gainey? He played AAU summer ball for him back when he was 10 years old. I know he never dreamed of making a game-winner on Gainey's home court for a big victory. But he did.

STAR RISING IN LEGGETT - It looks likely that the annual Edgecombe County Holiday Tournament will be shelved by all this white stuff, too.

North Edgecombe's boys were scheduled to open with Tarboro Tuesday evening (7:30) in their opener at host SouthWest Edgecombe.

For those of you who haven't seen junior forward Montrezl Harrell play for the Warriors, you have missed a show. Sadly, count me among them. I had my Tuesday blocked out for this game.

Harrell, who stands 6-foot-7, weighs 215 pounds and sports a wingspan of 7-foot-3, is making a lot of noise in Leggett. He led the Warriors to a 19-6 record last season and a berth in the NCHSAA 1-A East sectional finals.

Two weeks ago, he got some more notoriety as he broke a backboard in the school's Warren Jones Gym during a team workout.

And the offers are coming in from everywhere. So far, UNC-Charlotte, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Xavier, Miami, Virginia, East Carolina and Clemson all want to see him sign on the dotted line come next November. 

“I’m just having fun with the whole process right now,” Harrell told 2K Sports recently. “I’m just looking to take as many visits as I can and get to see what all the schools have to offer. I’ll probably make my decision at the start of my senior year. No hurry. For now I’m just trying to get better. That’s my only goal, to get better and better!”