By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Greensboro (N.C.) Day School’s Cam Hayes will remember two things from his time in the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions.
Playing quality competition and touring the Wonders of Wildlife National Aquarium and Museum.
“That was really cool,” said Hayes, a North Carolina State commit. “I’ve never been to an aquarium.
“I didn’t touch the stingrays, though.”
Teammate Bryce Harris did touch the stingrays during his tour. He also finished with a double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds, in Greensboro’s 67-57 win over Kickapoo in Saturday’s 7th place game.
Greensboro coach Freddy Johnson said Harris had missed about 20 days due to injury, and returned to practice for the first time on Wednesday. Harris played a key role in the Bengals (21-4 overall) building a 17-point second half lead against the Chiefs.
Down 17 early in the third quarter, Kickapoo responded with a 15-2 run to draw within 46-42. A Cameron Liggins 3-pointer and three-point play by Elijah Bridgers capped the run.
But Greensboro held on in the fourth quarter, outscoring Kickapoo 13-10. Christian Bailey (14), Hayes (13) and Brock Williams (12) also scored in double figures for Greensboro.
“We got in synch today,” Johnson said. “Even when (Kickapoo) cut it (close), I think we knew we were still going to win. You could see it in our players’ eyes. They were ready to play. And we did a better job of starting the game, which we didn’t do the first two days.”
The Chiefs were competitive in a losing effort for the third day in a row. Anton Brookshire led Kickapoo (8-5 overall) with 18 points. Liggins scored 14 and Cross Elmquist scored 10 off the bench.
“We knew we’d have our hands full (against Greensboro),” said Chiefs coach Mitch McHenry. “But we put a product on the floor where there was a lot of good. There’s no reason why our players, our team cannot see that. We can still achieve a lot of our goals for February and March.”
Greenboro used a balanced scoring effort to lead 40-25 at halftime. Bailey and Harris scored 10 apiece, and Hayes added eight points in the first half for the Bengals.
Greensboro had an 18-6 edge in points in the paint in the first half.
The Chiefs trailed by 13 late in the first quarter after Hayes’ fastbreak layup. Terrell Gladney’s buzzer-beating basket brought Kickapoo within 21-10 entering the second quarter.
“We’re always going to fight,” said Elmquist, the starting quarterback for Kickapoo’s football team. “Adversity’s always going to be there. You just have to fight.”
Kickapoo returns to action next Friday (Jan. 24) at home against Nixa.
The Chiefs could also return to the Tournament of Champions next year, when Brookshire will be a senior.
“It was a great experience playing in this,” Brookshire said. “The competition level was basically the same as AAU. Fan wise, the excitement and atmosphere was great.
“Hopefully, if we get the opportunity to play in this again next year, I feel like we’ll take advantage of it.”
Greensboro 67, Kickapoo 57
Greensboro 21 19 14 13 — 67
Kickapoo 10 15 22 10 — 57
Greensboro – Bryce Harris 15, Christian Bailey 14, Cam Hayes 13, Brock Williams 12, Cason Pierce 5, Jaydon Young 5, Whit Trevey 3
Kickapoo – Anton Brookshire 18, Cameron Liggins 14, Cross Elmquist 10, Terrell Gladney 5, Cary Ragan 5, Elijah Bridgers 3, Zach McKinnis 2