By Matt Myers
The Ole Barn Restaurant Christmas Tournament is a showcase of several youth basketball clubs in our community and Monday night at John B. Large gymnasium six of those teams tipped off the bracket action in style.
Any basketball fan could appreciate not only the level of play, but also the opportunity for the youngsters to develop their respective basketball fundamentals as well.
Tournament chairman Greg Workman is definitely excited about the consistent nature of the annual playoff as well as its expansion,
“Every year we have had a tournament with consistent attendance,” said Workman before tip-off of the Christmas tourney, “We have also had a lot of area teams from Johnson City and Unicoi ask to be a part of the action this year and that is very exciting for everyone involved but especially the kids who are out here competing.”
With 100 percent of the proceeds from the bracket play going to benefit the Elizabethton National Baseball and Softball League as well as the Happy Valley Boys Basketball Youth Club, the tourney is a charitable and competitively beneficial event for local sports.
The 13-and-under division provided all the action Monday night and Roan Highlands established their survival skills in the opener with a 37-20 victory over Happy Valley’s Pee Wee No. 1 team
In a night that would see the big men flourish inside, Jacob Shelton, the anchor of the Roan Highlands squad in the post, did his best Patrick Ewing impression with a 17-point, 6-board outing.
The youngster’s proficiency inside coupled with Roan Highlands’ solid team execution, both defensively and in the transition game, allowed the stalwarts from the Roan to build a 19-10 halftime lead to the eventual victorious margins.
Roland Banks showcased his ability in the post, as well, for Roan Highlands as he tallied seven points on the night, while Lane Kyte rang up seven of his own amidst a furious transition assault that led to easy baskets for the shooting guard in the second half.
Although forward Logan Slone and shooting guard Isaiah Rhodes turned in 8-point and 6-point nights for the Warrior,s respectively, it was Shelton’s 3 point play at the 4:00 mark of the fourth quarter that highlighted the games latter stanzas and pushed the Roan Highlands advantage to an insurmountable 14.
The second first round game, a match-up between Happy Valley’s No. 3 Pee Wee team and Happy Valley’s No. 6 Pee Wee team, resulted in a forfeit. The 3rd Pee Wee team will be allowed to advance to the second round with a 15-0 automatic victory.
Black Ops defeated Happy Valley’s No. 4 Pee Wee team 41-37 in the night’s third first round match-up which would prove to be the most exciting game on the docket.
Lloyd Mitchell excelled at his post position for Black Ops en route to a 16-point, 6-board performance while teammate and forward Cade McCurry shined in a 9-point performance.
Not to be outdone by any means, the Warriors counteracted the balanced Black Ops attack with scoring from Trey Hartley amidst a 14-point night and outstanding transition play from M.J. Camargo within his own 10-point performance.
In a game characterized by furious tempo and aggressively fast defense, it was Mitchell’s six-straight conversions from the free throw line that eventually broke a 37-37 tie with 19 seconds showing on the regulation clock.
The youngsters key performance from the free-throw line was indicative of the nights solid fundamental play and turned out to be the lone element powerful enough to hold back a relentlessly savvy Warriors basketball team.
The night-cap of first round action in the Ole Barn Restaurant Christmas tournament featured the Copperheads pitted against Happy Valley’s No. 5 Pee Wee team.
The Copperheads took advantage of solid ball movement and work for the easy shot via passing en route to a 31-10 halftime lead that would blossom into a 45-15 tally by games end.
Tanner Stiltner held a shooting clinic from his shooting guard position as he tallied 14 points on the night that included two buckets from beyond the arch, and Evan Sewell dominated the inside glass and scoring en route to a 12-point, 7-board performance.
The Copperheads implored turnover causing transition defense coupled with sound ball movement and scoring prowess on their way to surviving the first round in spades as every Copperhead in the scoring column tallied at least four points.
Trevor Waycasters’ control of the offense from his point guard position amidst a five point outing allowed the Copperheads to quickly move through the opening round and into subsequent tournament action.
Skylar Bowman emerged as the lone bright spot for the Warriors in the losing effort, tallying eight points on the evening.