By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
The Williams boys’ basketball team didn’t take the big prize in the Eastern Guilford Holiday Tournament but the Bulldogs made some headway anyway across the three-day tournament.
“We showed that we can work as a team and make it somewhere far,” forward Johntez Raspberry said.
Yet the Bulldogs got blitzed by undefeated Reidsville in the tournament championship game, falling 80-60 on Wednesday night in Gibsonville.
Veteran Williams coach Tommy Cole was absent from the tournament final because of illness, though he coached the first two days of the event. Assistants Elliot Cole, the coach’s son, and James Lloyd directed the Bulldogs.
Reidsville opened a 22-8 lead, but Raspberry sparked a second-quarter spurt with five points on one trip down the court. Later, the Bulldogs pulled within 30-26 before Reidsville’s 10-0 run late in the first half.
Raspberry posted 15 points and teammate Jordan Harless provided a spark off the bench in both halves on his way to 13 points.
Kendre Harrison’s 24 points and tournament Most Valuable Player Dionte Neal’s 15 points led Reidsville (7-0), which excelled in transition.
Williams (4-7) smacked Bethany Community 74-36 in its tournament opener and then fended off Eastern Guilford 49-44 in the semifinals. Raspberry was the leading scorer for the Bulldogs in both of those games with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Milton Turner and Jaelan Brown joined Raspberry as Williams’ representatives on the all-tournament team.
BCA boys take third
Burlington Christian Academy coach Eric Dudley directed his team past his alma mater, Eastern Guilford, in the third-place game. It felt awkward.
“It was very interesting,” Dudley said. “We’ve been avoiding this for three years.”
The Royals topped Eastern Guilford 64-38 behind Jackson McBride’s 21 points and Nate Brown’s 13 points.
Dudley, a 1996 Eastern Guilford graduate, is in his fourth season at BCA, so this was the third entry in the Eastern Guilford tournament (there was no tourney in 2020 because of the pandemic). He spent eight seasons as an assistant coach under Eastern Guilford’s Joseph Spinks.
“I keep up with how his team is doing,” Dudley said. “He keeps up with how we’re doing.”
BCA began by defeating Western Guilford 61-55 before losing to Reidsville by 92-59. Yet going 2-1 against larger public schools was valuable.
“We’re thankful to get out of here with that,” Dudley said. “It’s nice for us to step outside our conference and play public schools.”
Williams girls place third
The Williams girls opened the tournament by toppling Reidsville 75-50 behind Briahna Scott’s 18 points. Then the Bulldogs lost 53-47 to Orange in the semifinals.
Williams capped the tournament by drubbing Eastern Guilford 67-27 in the third-place game.
“We found out a lot about who we are,” Williams coach Jason Cheek said. “We found out where we are successful. That starts and stops on the defensive end. We put a big emphasis on the defensive end.”
A 21-2 second-quarter edge against Eastern Guilford provided evidence.
Regan Averett’s 17 points and 10 rebounds paced the Bulldogs, and Scott had 15 points. Scott, Averett and Jainasia Bailey were all-tournament picks from Williams (8-3).
Orange defeated Northeast Guilford 46-25 in the title game. Williams had defeated Orange 50-45 at home in a Central Carolina 3-A Conference matchup less than two weeks earlier.
The Burlington School (3-11) dropped a 54-44 decision to Orange and then lost to Reidsville. There wasn’t a seventh-place game because The Point dropped out of the tournament.