Nail-biters take center stage Friday in Good Guys tournament

By on December 3, 2022

Burlington School junior Zion Walker (right) dribbles past Moravian Prep freshman Isaac Ellis. (Photos by Taylor Newton)
Combine senior Silas Demary Jr. (left) leaps through the air to swat the ball away from Word of God senior Freddie Dilione. (Photos by Taylor Newton)
Word of God discusses game plans during a timeout. (Photos by Taylor Newton)
Combine players jump in the air in excitement after beating Word of God 51-48. (Photos by Taylor Newton)
Combine senior Silas Demary Jr. (left) and junior Rakease Passmore hug after a close win against Word of God. (Photos by Taylor Newton)
First Flight sophomore Mason Dobie (#3) dribbles past Peninsula Catholic junior Xzavier Savoy. (Photos by Taylor Newton)
First Flight senior Eli Hawk (#44) looks to the net while being fouled by Peninsula Catholic junior Malcolm Velmar. (Photos by Taylor Newton)
First Flight's student section celebrates after scoring a point against Peninsula Catholic. (Photos by Taylor Newton)
Splitting the defense, First Flight senior Isaac Dobie dribbles through Peninsula Catholic senior Styles Gardner (left) and junior DJ Banks-West. (Photos by Taylor Newton)
Flying through the air, First Flight senior Isaac Dobie (right) blocks a layup from Peninsula Catholic senior Kamari Vinson.
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By Steve Hanf | Outer Banks Voice
Photos by Taylor Newton

Four games spread over nearly seven hours. A combined margin of victory of eight points in those four games. Day 2 of the Good Guys vs. Cancer Basketball Showcase at First Flight High School on Friday, Dec. 2 lived up to the hype.

Next up: Saturday’s 10-game marathon that starts at 8 a.m. with Manteo facing Riverside Martin and ending with the Nighthawks playing host to state power Kinston at 9:30 p.m.

“I would love to have the same turnout as we had today,” FFHS men’s head coach Chad Williams said. “Ours comes down to the end, the one before us came down to the end, Word of God-Combine – I don’t think you could ask for much more than what we had today. If we can match that again, I think we’ll have a really successful overall event.”

Friday’s action in the fourth-annual tournament opened with Moravian Prep topping The Burlington School 64-62. Then came the highly anticipated matchup of top-25 teams in the nation, with Combine Academy edging Word of God 51-48. St. Anne’s-Belfield nipped Greenfield 85-84 in the third game before the Nighthawks fell 72-70 to Peninsula Catholic in the finale.

Turnovers proved problematic for the Nighthawks in a game that featured two teams willing to trade buckets at a breakneck pace. Peninsula Catholic, of Newport News, Virginia, led 19-17 after a quarter before more shots started falling for the Nighthawks. A deep 3-pointer by Isaac Dobie off an assist from his brother, Mason, and a cutting layup for Cam Van Lunen off a great feed from Carson Hahne staked FFHS to a 35-32 halftime advantage.

The margin inched up to four points entering the fourth quarter after the Nighthawks ran an inbounds play to perfection with 2.7 seconds left on the clock. Isaac Dobie inbounded from near half court to Mason, who then flipped a pass back to his brother for a runner at the 3-point line as the buzzer sounded to make it 53-49.

But missed shots, turnovers and a suddenly hot hand for Knights guard Stylz Gardner turned the tide for the visitors. Gardner drained two picture-perfect 3s from deep in the closing minutes to spark an 8-0 run as the lead swelled to seven points. A pair of late FFHS 3-pointers turned the final score into a one-possession game.

“Turnovers…that’s the ballgame, plain and simple,” Williams said of his team committing 18 more miscues than the Knights. “We played well enough to win. We played hard enough to win. But until we learn to take care of the ball playing at the pace we want to play at, we’re not going to win.”

Peninsula Catholic coach Trevor Dorsey said he doesn’t have a deep bench, so running with FFHS all night proved tiring for his crew. At one point, junior guard Malcolm Velmar came to the bench and asked for someone else to shadow Isaac Dobie because he “was gassed,” but the Knights had no other options.

“So it was kind of a war of attrition at the end for us,” Dorsey said. “Stylz Gardner made some big shots that were timely. He’s been struggling. He’s a career 40-percent outside shooter and he hasn’t shot it well this year, but he made a couple of huge ones.”

Gardner finished with 16 points. Velmar was a perfect 6-for-6 on free throws down the stretch and ended up leading the team with 18 points. DJ Banks-West knocked down four shots from long range and had 15 points.

Senior Isaac Dobie was 5-for-10 from the 3-point line and finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and four assists to lead the Nighthawks. Sophomore Mason Dobie had eight points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Hahne, a junior, knocked down three 3s to finish with nine points. Senior big man Eli Hawk was someone Peninsula “had no answer for,” Dorsey said, and ended with 22 points on 10-for-15 shooting in the paint and 12 rebounds.

The opener featuring top talents from The Burlington School and Moravian Prep, out of the North Carolina foothills, was a back-and-forth affair that saw Prep pull away from a 40-39 halftime edge to lead by as many as eight in the second half. But Burlington roared back behind Zion Walker, Savion Taylor and Jordan Durham to take a 62-61 lead with 1:11 remaining. Jordan Marsh responded for Prep with a drive to make it 63-62 with a minute to go, then a Zion Walker free throw pushed it to 64-62.

Burlington came up empty in its final offensive set, but nearly pulled off a miracle when Prep missed a free throw with three seconds to go. Durham grabbed the rebound, took a few dribbles and launched a high, arching shot from well beyond half court that had the crowd gasping as it hit the back of the rim at the buzzer.

Isaac Ellis had 22 points and Marsh 21 to lead Prep, with Taylor and Durham both scoring 15 and Walker 14 for Burlington.

By now, the gym was nearly at capacity as Raleigh’s Word of God and the Combine Academy from Hickory took the court with their array of future Division-I players. Combine roared out to a 20-10 lead, but Word of God kept chipping away in what turned out to be a low-scoring affair. The Holy Rams grabbed a 46-43 midway through the fourth but Combine guard Silas Demary Jr. – headed to the University of Southern California – scored six straight for the 51-48 lead. Word of God had three shots to tie it in the final 15 seconds but misfired on each one.

Demary ended with 16 points and Collin Tanner – headed to Richmond – had 13. For Word of God, Tennessee-bound Freddie Dilione had 22 points and Alabama commit Davin Cosby Jr. had 12.

“It was a thriller. Big-time crowd, big-time student section, awesome event,” Combine head coach Michael Wright said.

Not to be outdone, St. Anne’s Belfield School of Charlottesville, Virginia, and Greenfield School from Wilson took part in an epic duel. Clinging to a one-point lead with 14 seconds to go, St. Anne’s sent a long inbounds pass to big man Carter Lang. The Vanderbilt signee flicked it ahead to Desmond Roberts for an emphatic slam and 84-81 lead. A free throw seconds later iced it and meant Greenfield’s 3-pointer at the buzzer didn’t matter.

St. Anne’s got 22 points from Chance Mallory, 20 each from John St. Germain and Austin Williford, and 17 from Lang, who was limited by foul trouble. Greenfield’s shifty Hampton Evans worked his low post magic for a team-high 21 points, while Nik Edwards had 20 and Micah Sherrod 16.

Tickets are $15 for Saturday’s mix of local action and top-ranked talents and will be sold at the door. A full concession stand will be available all day.


Thursday’s Results
  • First Flight varsity girls 60, Cape Hatteras 30
  • Manteo 82, Cape Hatteras 19
  • Riverside Martin 48, Currituck 46 (OT)
  • Moravian Prep 95, Peninsula Catholic 68


Friday’s Results
  • Moravian Prep 64, The Burlington School 62
  • Combine Academy 51, Word of God 48
  • St. Anne’s Belfield 85, Greenfield 84
  • Peninsula Catholic 72, First Flight 70


Saturday’s Games
  • Manteo vs. Riverside Martin, 8 a.m.
  • Camden vs. Washington County, 9:30 a.m.
  • Hertford County vs. Maury, 11 a.m.
  • South Central vs. Landstown, 12:30
  • Northeastern vs Wilson Prep, 2
  • Greenfield vs. Peninsula Catholic, 3:30
  • Blue Ridge vs. The Burlington School, 5
  • Moravian Prep vs. Catholic, 6:30
  • St. Anne’s Belfield vs. Word of God, 8
  • First Flight vs. Kinston, 9:30

Tickets are $15 for Saturday’s mix of local action and top-ranked talents and will be sold at the door. A full concession stand will be available all day.




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