Nance get 200th win as Comets win CT title

Stephanie King

After three days of competitive play, the final of the 28th annual Courier-Tribune Christmas Invitational arrived Saturday night. The championship game featured host school Asheboro and defending champion Wheatmore. The Blue Comets were looking for their first title since 2015, while the Warriors were hoping to repeat.

Tysean Freshwater came out aggressive scoring the first five points of the night for the Blue Comets. He opened the game with three points the old fashion way and then scored on a drive to put the Comets in control. Wheatmore would not get on the board until the 4:50 mark of the quarter when Zach Berrier knocked down a jumper. Austin Biggs scored down low to pull the Warriors within one. Noah Watkins got his first points of the night on a strong drive to the hoop as Asheboro took a 7-4 lead. Gavin Rains cut the lead to one once again for the Warriors as he scored with an up and under move. Freshwater went back to the free throw line and knocked down a pair for the Comets. Rains closed out the quarter with a bucket to pull the Warriors back within one. After one complete quarter, Asheboro led 9-8.

Asheboro and Wheatmore traded buckets to start the second quarter and keep it a one-point game in favor of the Comets. The Comets found a rhythm and went on a 5-0 run to take a six-point lead. Bryant Walker drained a three to cut the lead to three for the Warriors, but the Blue Comets responded with an 8-0 run. Freshwater drained a three and then went one for two at the line, while Corey Durrant and Latrell Moore knocked down back to back buckets. Wheatmore closed the gap down the stretch as they closed the quarter with an 8-2 run. At halftime, Asheboro led Wheatmore 26-21.

Defense from both teams would be strong in the third quarter of play as it was a low scoring quarter. Freshwater opened the quarter with a bucket down low to push the Blue Comets’ lead to seven. Biggs and Berrier each went one for two at the line for Wheatmore as they cut the lead to five. Tatum Marsh scored with a floater to extend the Comets’ lead back to seven and Freshwater went two for two at the line to make it a 32-23 game. Wheatmore came on strong as they ended the quarter on a 6-0 run included a pair of free throws from Berrier after the buzzer. After three complete quarters, Asheboro held a narrow 32-31 lead.

Freshwater helped shift the momentum back to the Blue Comets as he drew back to back charges on Rains and Berrier. The Comets capitalized on the other end as Durrant scored in the paint to extend the lead to three. Wheatmore answered on the other end to cut the lead back to one. Berrier returned the favor on the defense as he drew a charge on Freshwater. Asheboro continued to work the ball around as Fisher scored to push the lead back to three. Wheatmore continued to hang around as Berrier scored on back to back drives to give the Warriors a 37-36 lead with four minutes left in the game. Freshwater turned up his play as he went strong to the basket drawing the fourth foul on Rains. Freshwater would go one for two at the line to tie the game at 37 all.

Durrant scored back to back buckets for the Comets to extend the lead four. Fisher knocked down a pair at the line to push the lead to six, but the Warriors would not back down. Berrier picked up three points the old-fashion way to cut the lead to three. The Comets led by six before a three from Berrier and a steal and score from Biggs cut the lead to one. The Warriors had no choice but to foul and Fisher drained a pair at the line to give the Comets a three-point lead. Rains had a great look at the bucket from three at the buzzer, but his shot careened off the rim as the buzzer sounded. Asheboro held on for a 50-47 win to claim the 2018 Courier-Tribune Christmas Invitational championship. The win is also head coach Brian Nance’s 200th victory.

Leading the way for the Comets was Tysean Freshwater with 17 points. Nate Fisher notched 11 and Corey Durrant finished with 10. Zach Berrier led the Warriors with 19 points, while Gavin Rains added 18. Austin Biggs chipped in 7.


Sportsmanship Award Winner: Bryant Walker, WHS

All-Tournament Team

Tysean Freshwater, AHS (MVP)
Nate Fisher, AHS
Corey Durrant, AHS
Gavin Rains, WHS
Zach Berrier, WHS
Dominick Poole, RHS
Nate Cassidy, RHS
Tyler Hammonds, THS
Connor Stanley, THS
Brighton Long, SWR
Tanner Ferguson, SWR
Seth Moore, J-M
Evan Taylor, PG
Cade Snotherly, ER

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