Out-of-town teams bring talented casts to Brogden


Today, Holiday basketball tournaments around the area kick off in earnest. The most expansive of those is right in Wilmington, the Leon Brogden Holiday Invitational.

There are 16 teams involved; eight girls and eight boys. Those teams include a few well-known and respected schools and a few familiar names.

Most are familiar with the players from local schools: Hoggard's Trevor Singleton, New Hanover's Nigel Holley, Ashley's T.J. Williams, Laney's Amber Doniere, and Ashley's Felicity Hav-ens. But the incoming teams bring plenty of talent as well.

Here's a brief rundown of who's coming in town for the next three days:



Boys

Hoke County (7-1)

You might remember the Bucs from last year when they were crushed by New Hanover in the 4A East Regional Finals. Hoke County has Tarique Thompson and a surrounding cast back, is 7-1 this season and already has big wins against West-over and Jack Britt. Hoke is a contender for the 4A title.

First-round matchup: vs. Laney, 2:30 p.m., Hanover Hall.



N. Myrtle Beach, S.C. (5-2)

Another familiar face; North Myrtle Beach has played West Brunswick twice and won both games. But coach Frank Morehead said the Cheifs are still trying to find their identity.

"We're probably a little bit undersized and not as quick as some of the teams," Morehead said, "but we're ready to go."

First-Round matchup: vs. New Hanover, 4:30 p.m., Track Coliseum.



Ashbrook (6-4)

Ashbrook head coach Chad Duncan is a familiar face; he was formerly the coach at Ashley. Now he gets to take on his alma mater to kick things off. According to Duncan, the Green Wave is still trying to compensate for not having a player taller than 6-foot-4.

"We're still in that realm right now without a ton of height," Duncan said. "But we do have a lot of athleticism and some experience."

First-round Matchup: vs. Ashley, 5:30 p.m., Hanover Hall.



Frederick Douglass III, N.Y. (6-2)

Frederick Douglass has been in the tournament before, and they made the long trek down to Wilmington again. So far, the Lions haven't been a high-scoring team – they've only topped 50 points twice this season.

First-round matchup: vs. Hoggard, 7:30 p.m., Trask Coliseum.



Girls

Havelock (4-2)

Havelock has been a loyal participant in the local girls tournament in Wilmington for years. The Rams have also already beaten a Mideastern Conference opponent in New Bern.

First-Round matchup: vs. New Hanover, 3 p.m., Trask Coliseum.

Conway, S.C. (1-6)

The Tigers have had a rough start to the season, but they have been cleaning up on the boards (25.6 per game). Things will be tough against the undefeated Laney Buccaneers to kick things off.

First-round matchup: vs. Laney, 4 p.m., Hanover Hall.



Ravenscroft (6-4)

A private school powerhouse from Raleigh, Ravenscroft has won at least 20 games three of the past four years. This year, the Ravens have just two seniors on the roster, and coach Shon Hardy said those young players are still adjusting.

"We should really be 8-2," Hardy said. "So it's just getting used to the speed of the game for some of the kids and getting acclimated to some of the bigger kids they play."

First-Round Matchup: vs. Hoggard, 6 p.m., Trask Coliseum.



Socastee, S.C. (6-3)

Traditionally, Socastee hasn't been a powerful team. But the Braves are 6-3 so far and came within two points of beating New Hanover earlier this season. They get an even tougher test in Ashley.

First-Round matchup: vs. Ashley, 7 p.m., Hanover Hall.