Boy’s hoops roundup: Cardinals split holiday tournament games

Ledger Blackburn, seen here earlier this season, notched a double-double (14 points and 10 rebounds) in East Wilkes’ comeback win over Fort Chiswell on Thursday in the Fort Chiswell Christmas Tournament.

East Wilkes, Forbush and Starmount boy’s basketball teams all hit the road for holiday tournaments last week and had varying results in their respective games.

The Falcons dropped a pair of the games in the High Country Holiday Classic at Watauga High School. Forbush (1-12) dropped a 73-24 decision to the host Pioneers in its opener last Wednesday in game where it shot just 20-percent from the field.

Watauga, which reached the finals (and dropped a 64-62 heartbreaker to Apex Friendship in the championship game) to improve to 6-6 this winter, jumped out to a 30-9 lead after one quarter and a 55-16 halftime advantage.

The next night, the Falcons fell, 70-54, to Hickory Christian Academy. For his efforts, Jacob Boyles was named to the all-tournament team for Forbush, which will look to snap an eight-game skid on Friday night when it hosts Surry Central.

The Cardinals used a furious fourth quarter to defeat Fort Chiswell (Va.), 53-48, to salvage a split in the Fort Chiswell Holiday Tournament last Thursday in Max Meadows, Va.

Now 4-6 overall, East Wilkes gained the lead in the first quarter with a 22-10 advantage, but found itself behind 30-28 at halftime.

The Pioneers (4-6) extended their lead to 42-35 after three quarters before East Wilkes outscored them by 12 in the decisive fourth quarter.

Braxton Long paced East Wilkes in the scoring column with 24 points and eight rebounds; Ledger Blackburn turned in a double-double performance with 14 points and 10 boards. The senior also dished out six assists.

Despite registering just a single point, Briggs Gentry still stuffed the stat sheet with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

A night earlier, the Cardinals fell behind early and Radford (Va.) cruised to a 50-27 win.

Only down three after one quarter, the Bobcats held a 15-point halftime advantage at 28-13.

Long paced East Wilkes, which returns to action on Friday at home against Alleghany, with 14 points and five rebounds. No other Cardinal had more than four points.

Like their fellow conference member, the Rams stepped out of league play and lost a pair of games in the Chick-fil-A Holiday Invitational last Wednesday and Thursday at North Surry.

The host Greyhounds used a 31-point second quarter to dispatch of Starmount in a 79-56 win last Thursday. Tied at 16 after one quarter, North Surry (11-1) outscored the Rams by 22 points in the second to open up a 47-25 halftime lead.

Cole Longworth had a key showing in a losing effort with a team-high 15 rebounds to go along eight points. Zack Armstrong paced the Rams with 16 points and Xavier King finished with 10. A.J. Pardue had seven points.

Jahreece Lynch paced four Greyhounds in double figures with a game-high 25 points and Kolby Watson pumped in 20. Kam McKnight and Jackson Smith added 15 and 11 points, respectively.

Starmount (5-5) started off the Invitational with a 74-66 loss to Surry Central despite leading after one (14-12) and trailing by just a point (35-34) at halftime.

King led a trio of Rams in double figures with 18 points and Longworth and Armstrong added 15 and 12, respectively. Longworth also notched a double-double when he added 15 rebounds (which included six on the offensive glass).

Zack Dezern added six for the Rams, who began a three-game week with games against North Wilkes and at Wilkes Central on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. They’ll resume Northwest 1A Conference play on Friday at home against Elkin.

— Cory Smith of the Mount Airy News contributed to this report.