The 33rd Eastern Carolina Classic holiday tournament (31st for girls) got off to a non-surprising start Saturday in the Fike gymnasium.
All the favorites won as the Beddingfield girls continued their recent domination with a 56-44 defeat of Hunt; the Fike girls continued their recent solid play with a 58-23 humbling of Greene Central and the Fike boys more or less cakewalked over winless Greene Central 73-42.
The best game of the tournament comes Monday night when the Hunt and Beddingfield boys tangle for the right to play Fike for the tourney crown. Both teams are contenders for the No. 2 spot in the 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference. I say No. 2 spot because I don't see anyone beating reigning conference and state champion Kinston, whose junior star Reggie Bullock was in Chapel Hill on Sunday night taking in the UNC-Rutgers game.
But back to the Classic, it continues to draw a big crowd, although the Fike gym limits the number of spectators that Hunt or Beddingfield see in the years they host. I still say the best place to play it is where it all began — Wilson Gymnasium on the Barton College campus. But that will not happen unless Barton offers its gym for free and, like I said, that will not happen.
Here are a few pics from Saturday's game. I'll have more here Monday night from the girls consolation game and the Hunt-Beddingfield boys semifinal.
Former Fike star and current Duke University running back Re'quan Boyette, center, watches the action.
Scheyler Jones of Fike (32) gets ready to can a jumper to put the Demons ahead by 30, so why won't Coach D sit down?
Leslie Finch of Fike brings the intensity as she tries to score between Shawan Daniels and Shonice Pettaway.
Beddingfield's Casey Elliott draws a bead on a 3-pointer.