'I hope it's not his last year.' Garner coach Eddie Gray chokes up as players talk about winning a title for him

Garner coach Eddie Gray has some fun with his players in the postgame press conference after defeating Christ School in the John Wall Holiday Invitational on Dec. 28, 2017.
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Garner coach Eddie Gray has some fun with his players in the postgame press conference after defeating Christ School in the John Wall Holiday Invitational on Dec. 28, 2017.
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High School Sports

Day 2 recaps from the John Wall Holiday Invitational

By J. Mike Blake

mblake@newsobserver.com

December 28, 2017 03:11 PM

RALEIGH

Thursday’s action in the John Wall Holiday Invitational included the semifinals of the David West bracket and the rest of the T.J. Warren bracket’s first-round games.

DAVID WEST BRACKET

Semifinal – Greenfield School 59, Broughton 57: Greenfield and star player Coby White will be playing for a Holiday Invitational tournament title on Saturday. White, a UNC recruit, had 32 points in the victory. The Knights prevailed against the host Caps in a back-and-forth affair that gave Broughton one last chance to win the game with 13.4 seconds to go. But the Caps didn’t get a shot off, and White jumped on a loose ball to seal the win. Jalen Finch had 13 points in the loss. White needs 38 points on Saturday to break the all-time record for most points in the 46-year of the tournament, set by former Garner High and UNC star Donald Williams.

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Semifinal – Garner 92, Christ School 67: Garner is back in a bracket title game for the second straight year after routing Christ School (Arden). The Trojans shot 50 percent in the first half but blew the game open in the second half. The highlight came with just more than a minute left as Donovan Evans threw a pass off the backboard to 5-11 guard Trayvon Ferrell. Ferrell had a game-high 27 points. Jalen Lecque had 26 in the loss.

Consolation – Kinston 56, Downey Christian (Fla.) 43: Kinston’s balanced scoring attack – Reginald Clark had 12 and Damian Dunn and Dontrez Styles each had 15 – was too much for the Patriots from Orlando. Downey Christian was led by 15 points and 10 rebounds from Therodore Wolfe. Headliners Julian Newman scored 14 in the loss on 4 of 22 shooting (4 of 15 from 3).

Consolation – Trinity Christian 66, Greene Central 49: Duke recruit Joey Baker had 14 points, Au’Duiese Toney had 15 and Greg Gantt had 19 in the win for the Crusaders from Fayetteville. Greene Central was led by 15 points from Imajae Dodd, 13 from Donte Johnson and 12 from Torrence Clark.

Friday’s schedule:

7th-place game: Downey Christian (Fla.) vs. Greene Central, 10:30 a.m.

5th-place game: Kinston vs. Trinity Christian, noon

3rd-place game: Broughton vs. Christ School, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday’s championship:

Garner vs. Greenfield School, 7 p.m.

T.J. WARREN BRACKET

IMG Academy (Fla.) 85, Cannon School 81: Darius Days had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead IMG Academy to an opening-round win. In the loss, Jairus Hamilton had 28 points.

University School (Fla.) 80. Panther Creek, 53: While Duke’s entire coaching staff sat and watched, Vernon Carey Jr. cruised to 26 points (11 of 13 shooting) en route to an opening-round win. The Catamounts were led by Justin McKoy, who had a game-high 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting.

Hillcrest Prep (Az.) 70, Heritage 60: Despite 24 points from Jarren McAllister and 21 from Jayden Gardner, Heritage fell short to the Bruins from Phoenix. Kyree Walker, one of the top sophomores in the nation, had 28 points.

Friday’s schedule:

Cannon School vs. Heritage 1:45 p.m.

Word of God vs. Panther Creek 3:30 p.m.

Wesleyan Christian vs. University School (Fla.) 7 p.m.

IMG Academy vs. Hillcrest Prep (Az.) 8:30 p.m.

GIRLS BRACKET

Semifinal – Heritage 63, Hillside 20: The defending champion Huskies had an easier time in the semifinals than they did in the first round. Heritage had a running clock on Hillside during its rout and will play in the championship game for the second straight year.

Semifinal – Southeast Raleigh 62, Mallard Creek 47: Southeast Raleigh ended the game on an 18-2 run to win by 15 and earn a spot in Saturday’s championship, which will be in Broughton’s Holiday Gymnasium. The whole game was that way. Mallard Creek led 14-2 to open the game, but Southeast Raleigh went on a 14-0 run right after that.

Consolation – Cary 66, Northwood Temple 63: The Imps were down 20, went on a 21-0 run and withstood a record-breaking performance to move into Friday’s fifth-place game. Northwood Temple made 13 3-pointers, breaking the tournament record for a single game that it set last year. The Eagles made just one in their first game of this year’s tournament.

Consolation – Wesleyan Christian 79, Neuse Christian 49: Izabel Verajao had six blocks in the first half, but it wasn’t enough for the Lions. Neuse Christian, one of the top teams in the NCISAA 1A, will face its main competition for a state title in Northwood Temple in the seventh-place game.

Friday’s schedule:

7th-place game: Neuse Christian vs. Northwood Temple, 11 a.m.

5th-place game: Cary vs. Wesleyan Christian, 12:30 p.m.

3rd-place game: Hillside vs. Mallard Creek, 2 p.m.

Saturday’s championship:

Heritage vs. Southeast Raleigh, 1:50 p.m.