Sun. May 26th, 2024

Top 10 Area Games Over The Holiday Break

5 min read

By Kai Jones & Laieke Abebe

Photos by Laieke Abebe

Merry Christmas to everyone reading! The sports most closely associated to Christmas to me is basketball, and we get a lot of high school basketball after Christmas. Here are the top 10 games we will and could get in high school basketball tournaments this holiday season.

Scheduled Games

Number 1 — Princeton at South Johnston, December 27th at the South Johnston Christmas Tournament 6:30 P.M.

The two teams with the most wins in Johnston County the last two weeks will meet at South Johnston for the Trojan’s Christmas tournament. 

Princeton (6-1) comes in off their first loss of the season to South Johnston’s 3-A Greater Neuse River Conference foe Clayton (7-2). South Johnston is undefeated at 8-0.

The Bulldogs proved they could handle a big wing against the Comets as they held BJ Freeman under his scoring average for the season. Princeton will be tested again as they face the reigning 3-A Greater Neuse River Conference Player of the Year CJ Ray. Ray has made his name in the post, but has enhanced his wing skills and is averaging 22.5 points a game while pulling down 12 rebounds. Senior guard Thomas Dees is also averaging 11 points a night.

Juniors Jaheim Taylor and Tyrese Whitley along with sophomore Nayshin Waller all average double figures for the Bulldogs. This game will be a clash of contrasting styles as Princeton prefers to play uptempo in the open court while South Johnston likes to slow down the pace and execute their half-court offense. The Trojans slow pace has helped them hold all of their opponents to 50 points or less, while Princeton hasn’t scored less than 57 in a game all year long.

Number 2— Clayton vs Wilson Prep at Bunn December 26th for the Bunn Holiday Invitational 3 P.M.

Wilson Prep is new to the NCHSAA, but with former Harlem Globe Trotter and Wilson native Anthony Atkinson leading the way, the Tigers are 6-1. Clayton comes in as winners of five straight and sit at 7-2. This will be a very ‘tall’ order for the Comets who will deal with a team that has five players 6-feet-4 and taller. 

Number 3 — Goldsboro vs Wayne Christian at University of Mount Olive December 26th for the FCA Winter Classic 6 P.M.

Goldsboro has been a very exciting team as they are averaging 78 points per game. The Cougars (4-1) have three players averaging double figures and five others averaging at least five points per game. But against Wayne Christian (7-3), Goldsboro will be tasked with defending sophomore Jayquan Curry — the leading scorer in the WJG Sports Area. Curry has just one game where he’s scored less than 20 points this season and is averaging 27.8 points per game. Had Curry decided to go to public school, he would be playing for Goldsboro.

Number 4 — Southern Wayne vs Arendell Parrott at University of Mount Olive December 26th for the FCA Winter Classic 4 P.M.

Southern Wayne will face one of the top freshman point guards in the state, Arendell Parrott’s Tamir “Mir Mir” Moore. Moore is averaging 10 points per game and 2 assists per game. The Patriots (5-8) also feature junior sniper Nick Harrison, who averages 14 points per game of 41 percent shooting from long distance. The Saints (5-4) started off strong at 5-0, but have since lost their last four. Southern Wayne’s senior backcourt mates Jamari Leach and David Brewer are averaging 19.7 and 15.7 points per game respectively.

Number 5 — Clayton vs Cape Fear Academy at Cleveland December 26th for the John Jacobs Christmas Classic 10 A.M.

This should be the best girls game we get all holiday season. Clayton (7-2) and phenomenal freshman Darrionna Howard will take on Cape Fear Academy’s high scoring duo of Kaia Simpson and Chloe Keenan. Simpson and Keenan average over 42 points per game as a duo for the Hurricanes (9-3). The Comets have won five straight games. Howard has averaged 15.4 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game during the streak.

Number 6 — Smithfield-Selma at Hunt December 26th for the Farris and Farris Christmas Tournament 6:30 P.M.

Smithfield-Selma girls (6-2) will roll into the Farris and Farris Christmas Tournament after winning five of its last six games. While Hunt (3-4) comes in having lost four of its last five games. This matchup is exciting because of the Warrior’s Bria Griffith and Imani Sutton who come in averaging 14 and 11 points per game. The Spartans have had a special start to the season as junior guard Khaliyah Peacock is averaging 15.3 points per game and freshman forward Kayla Robertson is also averaging 11.8 points per game.

Possible Matchups

Here are some matchups that could happen in the second or third round of the tournaments.

Number 7 — Goldsboro vs Wayne Country Day at University of Mount Olive December 28th for the FCA Winter Classic 7:30 P.M.

After looking at this bracket, this is the matchup Wayne County wants in the championship game. However, both teams have to take care of business against other teams that will want to have their say. Nonetheless, Goldsboro-Wayne Country Day would be an exciting clash of the top two teams in the WJG coverage area. The individual matchups between these two squads make this a must see game on December 28th. Both teams will get their respective opponents best games throughout the first two rounds, so it’ll be interesting to see how each team fares this week.

Number 8 — Clayton vs GRACE Christian (Sanford) at Bunn December 27th for the Bunn Holiday Invitational 7:30 P.M.

Should Clayton get past Wilson Prep in their first round matchup, they could potentially meet a really good Grace Christian team in the semifinals. This Crusaders team has a similar build in comparison with the Comets: a very good post player that plays around an excellent stable of guards. 

Number 9 — Southern Wayne vs Wayne Country Day at University of Mount Olive December 27th for the FCA Winter Classic 7:30 P.M.

If Southern Wayne and Wayne Country Day win their first round games, they will clash in the semifinals of the FCA. The Saints will surely be coming for blood as they want the county championship crown. The matchup will be tough as Wayne Country Day has a huge size advantage at all positions on the floor. Big men Vante Hutcherson and Julian Williams will be the biggest factors in this game.

Number 10 — Princeton at C.B. Aycock, December 28th at the South Johnston Christmas Tournament 5 P.M.

This should be one of the best girls matchups of the week if both teams can make it to championship Saturday. The Golden Falcons frontcourt, especially the play of Kaitlyn Parrish and Alyssa Thomas, has been the key to all of their wins this season so it would be up to the Bulldogs post players to play an excellent game. Having a game breaker guard like Meredith Wooten certainly helps as well.

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