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Nearin’ Thirty…and counting

AHOSKIE – It’s a great last gift to unwrap if you’re a high school basketball fan.

The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament tips off Thursday at Hertford County High School Gym with a dozen teams participating and runs Dec. 26-30.

“We’re looking forward to hosting another Classic,” Tournament Director and HCHS boys’ basketball coach and athletic director Charles Simmons said. “I think it’s going to be one of the most competitive tournaments we’ve had in a while and I think that’s going to make for an exciting event. All the teams are so much better this year and we look forward to it every year and it’s also great for all the fans of the (various) schools.”

This year’s event features 12 teams: six girls’ teams led by defending 2018 champion Bertie High. The Lady Falcons will be joined by Hertford County, Northeastern, Gates County, Washington County, and Rocky Mount Prep.

The six boy’s teams include defending champ, Washington County, along with Hertford County, Bertie, Gates County, Northeastern, and Washington County.

“We welcome the teams participating in this, our 29th year of the Holiday Classic,” said Cal Bryant, Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald who, along with the late Richard Murray (former coach and Athletic Director at HCHS) founded the event in 1990.

“Over the years, the Holiday Classic has seen some memorable games and memorable players,” Bryant added. “The event has served a dual purpose over that time, affording the student-athletes an opportunity to compete over the long holiday break, and serving as a social event for the fans. Speaking on behalf of our family here at the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, we’re extremely happy to continue as the main sponsor of this great event and look forward to many more years to come.”

Following the same format as in the past two events, Hertford County and Bertie will receive first-round byes in boys and girls and won’t begin play until Friday.

Four first-round games will open the tournament Thursday beginning with the 4 p.m. girl’s game between Washington County and Northeastern; that’ s followed at 5:30 by the defending champ Washington County boy’s against Northeastern. The evening games will begin at 7 p.m. with Rocky Mount Prep versus Gates County girls, and the nightcap will end with an 8:30 game of the Red Baron boys facing off against the Rocky Mount Prep boys.

Friday will see the semi-finals of the event taking place with the aforementioned four teams that had byes seeing their first action.

The winner of the Washington County-Northeastern girl’s game is first up at 4 p.m. against defending champ Bertie. Bertie’s boys will face the winner of Thursday’s first round boy’s game between Washington County and Northeastern. Hertford County’s Lady Bears girl’s team will lead off the night games beginning at 7 p.m. against the Gates County-Rocky Mount Prep winner from Thursday; and the final game of the evening at 8:30 features Hertford County boys against the Red Barons-Jaguars winner.

The consolation games will be played beginning Saturday. Girl’s and boy’s team losers from the first two days of action will play for fifth-place beginning at 4 p.m. with the girl’s game, followed by the boy’s around 5:30.   At 7 p.m. the third-place girl’s game features the losers of the two Friday semi-final games, followed at 8:30 by the losers of the previous day’s boy’s semi-final.

Championship Night will be Monday, Dec. 30 starting with the girl’s title tilt at 6 p.m. followed at 7:30 by the boy’s match for the top prize. Following the games, trophies will be awarded to the top-two teams as well as the naming of the girls and boys All-Tournament teams.