First Flight hosts hoops classic with star power for good cause

By on December 5, 2018

Guy and Betty Williams. (submitted photo)

Shots will be made and missed. Games will be won and lost. But there won’t really be any losers by the time the final buzzer sounds on the first Good Guys vs. Cancer Basketball Showcase.

First Flight High School boys basketball head coach Chad Williams brings a first-of-its-kind tournament to the Outer Banks this Friday and Saturday when top teams from Virginia and North Carolina converge on the FFHS gymnasium for three action-packed tournament sessions.

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“I’m so excited to bring this to eastern North Carolina. It’s something that’s really never been east of I-95,” Williams said. “The all-around talent level is going to blow people away.”

Williams was inspired to raise money for the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association’s Coaches vs. Cancer charity when his Nighthawks were invited to play in an Asheville tournament for the same cause over Thanksgiving break.

And there’s another key Guy involved in this event: Williams’ father is currently battling cancer.

“Knowing this is going for my dad, that it’s something that will leave a legacy, something that will be in place for him for years to come – that’s special,” Williams said.

Friday, Dec. 7
Session 1 – $10

6:30 p.m. – Word of God vs. Great Bridge Christian
8:00 p.m. – Myers Park vs. First Flight

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Saturday, Dec. 8
Session 2 – $10

9:30 a.m. – Manteo vs. Currituck
11 a.m. – Myers Park vs. Word of God
12:30 p.m. – Northside vs. Ocracoke
2 p.m. – Riverside vs. Roanoke Rapids

Session 3 – $13
4:30 p.m. – Camden vs. Hertford County
6 p.m. – Bertie vs. Farmville Central
7:30 p.m. – South Central vs. Woodside
9 p.m. – Kinston vs. First Flight

Info: goodguysvscancer.com

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“I owe all of this to my friends in the coaching community – they’re the ‘good guys.’ For them to come together for such a worthy cause is humbling,” Williams said. Some of these teams turned down some big tournaments to come here and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

There will be more than a few special players on the court. Friday’s opening session features Word of God Academy of Raleigh against Great Bridge Christian Academy from Chesapeake at 6:30 p.m.

Word of God is the nationally renowned program that produced John Wall and a bevy of ACC stars, with this year’s Holy Rams led by 6-foot-8 junior Josiah Shackleford – nephew of NC State legend Charles.

Shackleford already has an offer from Coppin State and is joined by 6-6 senior sharp-shooter Max Farthing plus newcomer Trevon Spencer, a 6-3 senior forward who hails from just across the Alligator River in Columbia.

They face a Great Bridge Christian squad coached by former Virginia star and ACC Hall of Famer Donald Hand.

Williams called the Eagles “the biggest team in high school sports in the nation,” and there’s little reason to doubt that assertion.

It starts with 7-foot junior Jeriah Coleman, who already owns offers from Bowling Green and Hampton, and continues with 6-10 Wagner signee DeAndre Wilkins and 6-6 Hampton signee Bass Diop.

Fans may have trouble keeping up with how many dunks get thrown down in this showdown.

The host Nighthawks – legendary for the uptempo 3-point barrage they unleash on every opponent – close the opening session at 8 p.m. against Myers Park, a 4A school out of Charlotte.

The Mustangs boast an impressive lineup with 6-7 Duwe Farris, a senior with offers from Ivy League and Patriot League schools; sophomore Drake Maye, who fans may know best, at the moment, as the little brother of UNC star and ACC Preseason Player of the Year Luke Maye; and freshman Jacob Newman, who is already garnering major D-I interest.

Two sessions are in store for Saturday, with some great local rivalries being rekindled. For the opening session ($10), Manteo and Currituck meet at 9:30 a.m.

Due to the threat of wintry weather for inland areas of North Carolina, the schedule has been altered for Saturday to allow the Charlotte and Raleigh teams to head back home earlier in the day.

Anyone who purchased tickets for either session 2 or session 3 online will be allowed admittance to both sessions.

The 11 a.m. game features hyper-athletic Myers Park and Word of God meeting.

That will be followed at 12:30 p.m. by Ocracoke taking on Northside Pinetown and one of the best 1A backcourts in North Carolina with junior Rashod Smith, who is getting D-II interest already, and senior Johnathan Clark.

The Dolphins return four starters from a 21-4 team and are led by senior Colby Austin and 6-10 sophomore Cole Gilbert.

For local fans, this will be their first chance to see Hertford’s freshman phenom, Keondre Rodgers.

The final game in the session starts at 2 p.m. with Williamston Riverside taking on Roanoke Rapids.

Riverside has been an elite 1A team in recent years and returns seven varsity players to complement one of the state’s best freshmen in Avion Pinner.

They meet a Roanoke Rapids squad led by returners Paul Whitby and Traveous Garner.

Saturday’s closing session will features can’t-miss action starting with Camden and Hertford County at 4:30 p.m.

“It’s the first time these two neighbors and local powerhouses have ever met on the hardwood,” Williams said.

For local fans, this will be their first chance to see Hertford’s freshman phenom, Keondre Rodgers.

At 6, the top 2A team in North Carolina, Farmville Central, meets Bertie.

Farmville Central features star Terquavion Smith, a sophomore guard with offers already from N.C. State and High Point; Justin Wright, a junior guard with offers from ECU, Old Dominion and Rice; and a junior transfer in Samage Teel, who led the team in scoring in a recent tournament.

South Central from Winterville and Woodside of Newport News keep the action rolling at 7:30.

South Central features 6-10, UNC signee Day’Ron Sharpe and the player who earned top conference honors over Sharpe the last two years in guard Shykeim Phillips, who has offers from schools such as ECU, ODU, Kent State and South Carolina State.

Not to be outdone, Woodside boasts 6-10 Matt Nunez (offers from Georgetown, VCU, Florida and St. Louis), 6-2 junior guard Quishaun Brevard (offer from Hampton) and one of the best guards in Virginia in new junior Kahleef Jimmison. Woodside is coached by alumnus and former Arkansas star Stefan Welsh.

The fireworks end with another showdown for the host school. Dylan Blake, Reese Jones, Jordan High, Joseph Davidson, Grayson Bell and company take on mighty Kinston at 9 p.m.

The perennial powerhouse, which has produced more NBA players per capita than any other town in America – Sports Illustrated just featured that pipeline – went 22-5 last year and is led by 6-7 sophomore Dontrez Styles, who already holds offers from Georgetown, Ole Miss and ECU.

“I think it gives our kids an opportunity to see what the best looks like,” Williams said of the tournament.

“If we want to be in that mix, we need to play against it, see it, touch it. We want to be prepared come conference time and postseason play. That’s what this is all building up to. We’re seeing things we can’t simulate in practice.”

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