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Four teams collide in 1st KGMS Christmas tournament

On Dec. 12 and 13, at King George Middle School, four area middle school boys’ basketball teams - King George, Walker Grant, Culpeper and Caroline - battled for the bragging rights at the first annual Christmas Basketball Tournament. After the dust settled, and the cheers from parents reached their highest peak, one team stood tall. After a strong fourth quarter effort, the Culpeper Cougars defeated the King George Foxes 32-26.



Cougar forward, Malik Roy led the Cougars, with 17 points. The tournament’s “Most Valuable Player” scored a total of 24 points throughout the tournament.

The championship showdown between King George and Culpeper lived up to expectations, and then some. While the Foxes held a two to four point lead over the Cougars, the final quarter began with a 20-20 tie. The Cougars eventually won the match. “King George did a great job against us,” Culpeper head basketball coach Eric Dinkens said after the game. “They always have something good to bring to the table, because they have a good coach. Tonight, we made some adjustments, which slowed the game down to our style of play.”

Earlier this season, the Cougars defeated the Foxes at home, 50-38.  Roy played a key role in both Cougar victories. “When the going gets tough, he’s our go-to-guy,” Dinkens said. The next and final regular season meeting between the two teams will be Jan. 22, at Culpeper Middle School.

Championship game
In the first quarter, Fox point guard Lakin Hall spearheaded his team’s 10-7 point advantage by scoring two back-to-back three-pointers in a row. Roy kept the Cougars within striking distance with a jumper and three-pointer. With less than three minutes to play in the first quarter, Roy’s teammate Mason Crawford nailed a jumper to give the Cougars a 7-6 lead. However, Chris Levere, and Nick West combined for four points to give the Foxes a 10-7 lead.

Levere began the second quarter with a towering three-pointer, which ignited a 6-0 run. Trailing by nine points (16-7), the Cougars shifted their offense into overdrive, with Austin Bowles drilling a three-pointer to spark a 7-0 rally, that eventually cut the Foxes score to 16-14.

As the third quarter began, both teams were equal on both ends of the court defensively. Ironically, the battle to sustain an offensive advantage led to three ties, and the third quarter score knotted at 20-20.

Roy began the fourth quarter with a free throw and an assist to Eric Odham. Two minutes later, the Foxes, trailing by five points, were battling both the clock, and a relentless Cougar defense—led by Zahki Grayson, and Roy. Although Hall’s two free throws managed to cut the Cougar lead to 30-26, the Cougars’ suffocating defense finally ran the clock out.

Consolation game
The Caroline Eagles easily defeated the Tigers of Walker Grant 51-15 to win the Christmas Tournament Consolation game. High jumping power forward Jamal White led the Eagles with 16 points. White’s teammate, Brindon Williams added 12 points for the Eagles. Point guard, Kelmon Taylor led the Tigers with five points.

The Tigers got the jump on the Eagles, as they started the first quarter with a 5-0 lead. As fate would have it, with less than three minutes in the quarter, the Eagles regrouped to mount a 12-0 run.

The end results were nearly the same in the second quarter, as Caroline’s fast-break , post, and perimeter scoring left the Tigers grabbing for fouls as their only hope of slowing the Eagles down.

At the start of the third quarter, the Tigers trailed by 20 points (28-8), and the hope of a second-half rally seemed like a distant miracle. After four trips to the free throw line, and ten points scored from three-pointers and fast-breaks, the Eagles led, 42-10.

In the fourth quarter, the game became a contest between substitute teams. Although the Tigers scored an additional five points, the Eagles extended their lead to 51 to eventually win the game (51-15).

Semi-championship, Foxes vs. Eagles
Quickness and court execution were the key ingredients that gave King George a 43-19 win over Caroline. Jordan Aley set the stage in the first quarter by scoring all seven of the Foxes’ points. The Eagles managed to score two points, on free throws scored by forward Malik Greer.

The Foxes continued to dominate the Eagles in the second quarter, as Hall added seven points, including a three-pointer, with a 2:15 left in the half.

Within the first three and a half minutes of the third quarter, the Foxes had scored 12 points, while the Eagles struggled to score two points. During the remaining minutes, the Foxes defense cut off any signs of life from the Eagles offense. The quarter ended with the Foxes leading, 32-13.

In the final quarter, both team entered substitute players.  While the Eagles scored an additional six points, the Foxes continued to control the game by scoring 11 points. Hall led the Foxes with 13 points, while Aley added eight points.

Semi-championship, Cougars vs. Tigers
The first quarter must have been a blur for the Walker Grant Tigers. After the 17-2 run, where Zahki Grayson scored nine points, while crashing the boards on both sides, the game nearly became a routine walk in the park for the Cougars.

 The Tigers didn’t break double digits until Kelmon Taylor scored a three-pointer with seven seconds left in the quarter. In the remaining minutes of the game, substitutes from both team matched each other, point for point. The Cougars easily defeated the Tigers, 45-15. Grayson led the Cougars with 13 points, while Malik Roy and Austin Bowles combined for 14 points.
On Friday, the Foxes improved to 4-2, after defeating Colonial Beach 54-11.

After defeating Colonial Beach on Friday, and Monday, the Foxes are 5-2. The Foxes will travel to play Northumberland on Wednesday. Game time is 4:30 p.m.

An elaborate display of school pride was center-stage during each day of the tournament. Each school came fully equipped with a support group of cheerleaders, parents, and coaches. As for King George, the host Foxes rolled out the red carpet display of hospitality at its best. From seventh grade sports announcer, Brendan Deam to the National Anthem sung by Sidney Jeffries, the tournament atmosphere was nothing short of first class.

In addition, thanks to the efforts of the King George Booster Club, and NARFE Premier Credit Union, the tournament also featured the following winners of three iPads: Kurt Slack (ticket winner); Cheryl Green (seller of the winning ticket); Dan Lewis (209 tickets sold). NARFE representative, Joanna Gonzalez presented each winner with an iPad 4.

Leonard Banks
Sports editor

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