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CLAYTON — The Corinth Holders High girls and boys varsity basketball teams came into the sixth annual John Jacobs Christmas Classic looking to gain momentum before going into 4-A Northern Athletic Conference play. What they got, instead, were close losses and disappointment as the Lady Pirates and Pirates had a combined 1-5 record in tournament competition.
LADY PIRATES FINISH 7TH
The first game of the tournament saw the Lady Pirates face off against a familiar foe in the Lady Comets of Clayton for the third time this season. The game would be tightly contested throughout, but missed shots late would allow Clayton to hold on for the 49-46 win, its third against Corinth Holders this season.
“I thought the girls did a really good job with Clayton we just came up a little short at the end,” said Lady Pirates head coach Shannon Lee.
In day 2 of the tournament, the Lady Pirates faced another familiar opponent in West Johnston, having beaten the Lady Wildcats twice already. The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw Corinth Holders take a 20-15 lead at halftime, but the Lady Pirates would come out of the break and struggle in the second half as West Johnston earned a surprising 37-34 win.
“We just came out flat, we struggled to get into a rhythm, and West Johnston just outworked us,” said Lee.
In the third and final day of the tournament, the Lady Pirates would face host Lady Rams for seventh place in the Classic. This game would be a lot different than the previous two for the Lady Pirates, who came out and played with energy on offense and defense. They would use full-court pressure defense to generate easy baskets and would easily defeat Cleveland 40-21 — Corinth Holders’ third victory over the Lady Rams. Deonna Adams led the Lady Pirates, who rose to 8-4 on the season, in scoring with 14 points.
“Our team came back, responded well and we got back to our style of basketball,” said Lee.
PIRATES GO WINLESS
The Corinth Holders boys did not have the tournament they hoped for as they lost all three of their games by a combined-point total of only 16 points and dropped to 5-6.
In the first round, North Raleigh Christian punched the Pirates in the mouth to start the game as the Knights jumped out to a 16-4 lead. The Pirates did not have an answer for the Knights’ offensive attack as they went into halftime down 33-21. Corinth Holders, which trailed 33-21 at the half, clawed its way back in the second half and tied the game but could not finish as the Knights pulled out a 65-61 win.
In day 2 of the tournament against West Johnston, the Wildcats took an early 10-3 lead but a pair of 3-pointers by the Pirates to would tie the game at 20 after one quarter. Both teams would step up on the defensive end in the second quarter, and the score was tied at 28-all at halftime before West Johnston pulled out a 67-64 win.
Facing Wake Christian in the seventh-place game on Dec. 29, the Pirates, behind some hot perimeter shooting, built a 43-30 lead after three quarters. But the Bulldogs would make a furious comeback in the fourth quarter and outscore the Pirates 19-6 to tie the game at 49 and force overtime. Wake Christian continued their attack on offense and took the 63-55 win in overtime
“I think we fought hard due to the amount of injuries we had and I thought the younger guys stepped up these past three days,” said head coach James Jenkins.
Next up, Corinth Holders will travel to take on the South Johnston Trojans on Tuesday, Jan. 8, in another nonconference outing before conference play begins Friday, Jan. 11, at Heritage in Wake Forest.