United Bank tournament underway

Published 5:40 am Sunday, January 6, 2002

Sports Writer
This week marked a very important week in the area basketball picture with the playing of the United Bank Invitational Tournament.
The United Bank Tournament consisted of eight teams: J.U. Blacksher, W.S. Neal, T.R. Miller, Escambia County, Crestview, Pace, and Northview.
Last year the tournament was a great success, and this year's tournament was no different.
Last year pitted The Escambia County Blue Devils and Pace High School in a very thrilling Championship game. Pace came out on top but the tournament was a fun and thrilling experience for all.
This years playing field looks to be very competitive, with every team in the hunt for their respective area championships.
The tournament began with the defending tournament champion, Pace High School, versus the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles.
The game was to be one of the most thrilling games in the tournament. Both Pace and W.S. Neal began the game with a very good first quarter with Pace leading by four, 12-8, after the quarter.
The second quarter play was kinda sloppy as both teams could not get anything going on offense. W.S. Neal came out of their slump however, to trim Pace's lead to one point, 18-17, heading into half-time.
The third quarter was an unlucky one for the Blue Eagles however, as Pace came out of the locker rooms after half-time with a vengeance by scoring 24 points in the quarter to build their lead to 42-32 after three quarters.
W.S. Neal made a valiant effort in the fourth quarter to come back, but fell short however, as Pace got their first win of the tournament 54-48.
Nick Benjamin lead the Blue Eagles in points with 11 on the night. Keith Woods and Rodney Floyd followed for the Eagles with 10 and nine points respectively.
The next game of the tournament pitted a very a good T.R. Miller Tiger team against a very dangerous Crestview team.
The start of the game was very good for both teams with both teams scoring ten points in the first quarter to be tied 10-10 heading into the second quarter.
The second quarter was exciting offensively for both teams. T.R. Miller outscored Crestview however, 16-14, to take a 26-24 lead into half-time.
Much to Crestview's dismay the second half was all T.R. Miller, as the Tigers dominated in every aspect of the game.
T.R. Miller outscored Crestview 8-4 in the third quarter and then outscored them 14-4, in a very critical final period, to win the game 48-32.
DeWaun Johnson lead T.R. Miller in points on the night with 16. Johnson was also the leading scorer in the game for both teams. Neal Cheatham and Dominic Johnson followed for T.R. Miller with ten and eight points each.
Andre Herbert and Mantelos Burden lead Crestview with 13 and 10 points respectively.
The Northview Chiefs and the Robertsdale Golden Bears competed in the tournaments third game of the day. The Chiefs won a hard-fought contest with the Bears 58-54.
The last game of the first night of the tournament pitted the Escambia County Blue Devils and the J.U. Blacksher Bulldogs.
The Devils came out of the locker room in the first half smoking, scoring 23 points on a very inexperienced Blacksher team.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter as the Devils scored 23 more points in the second quarter, to go up 46-5, heading into half-time.
The Devils slowed down their scoring in the second half, only scoring 18 points in the third quarter and 11 points in the fourth quarter, to win the game 75-9.
Layton Knight and Barrett Finney lead the Devils in points on the night with 13. Kenny Clark and Katral Johnson followed for the Devils with 11 and 10 points each. James Wilson also had nine points in the win.
Kyle Wiggins lead J. U. Blacksher in points with four in the loss.
In the tournaments second day Crestview and Robertsdale started the day off.
Crestview beat Robertdale 73-67 despite a furious rally in the final quarter by the Golden Bears.
The second game of the second day was between W.S. Neal and J. U. Blacksher.
The game was very close in the first quarter as both teams got off to hot starts. J.U. Blacksher was a point better however, as they took a 13-12 lead into the second quarter.
W.S. Neal came storming back in the second quarter however, as they scored 17 points in the quarter to Blacksher's four, to take a 29-17 lead into half-time.
The second half was no better for the Bulldogs as they were outscored 19-7 in the third quarter and 24-14 in the final quarter to lose the game 72-38.
The third game of the night pitted the T.R. Miller Tigers against the Northview Chiefs in a game that turned out to be the best game of the tournament.
The first quarter started out slow for both teams, as neither team could get anything going on offense. T.R. Miller started to come out of their slump in the final minutes of the first quarter however, to take a 9-5 lead into the second quarter.
T.R. Miller continued to ride the momentum of the last minutes of the first quarter to build up a 10-point lead in the middle of the quarter. But Northview then started to pick their own offense and by quarter's end had cut the Tigers deficit to three, 17-14, heading into half-time.
T.R. Miller came out of the locker rooms in the third quarter on fire, scoring 14 points to the Chiefs eight, to take a 31-22 lead into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was one for the ages, as Northview came out determined not to lose, and with four minutes left had trimmed T.R. Miller's lead to five.
The Chiefs used those final four minutes to the their fullest, and with 59.5 seconds left in the game had tied to the game up at 43-43.
After both teams exchanges pressure baskets and one free throw, Northview had the ball with eight seconds left to try for the win. A win was not in the cards for the Chiefs however, as Mendell Smith's shot was short and T.R. Miller escaped with the one-point victory.
Neal Cheatham lead the Tigers with 13 points on the night. Dominic Johnson and Ryheem Drakeford each followed with 11 and 10 points respectively.
Shane Johnson lead Northview with 16 points on the night. Mendell Smith and Daryl Cohen followed for the Chiefs with nine and eight points respectively.
The final game of the night pitted a rematch of last year's Championship game between the Escambia County Blue Devils and Pace High School.
Pace came out of the locker rooms in the first half with something to prove, scoring 20 points on the Blue Devils hyped up defense. Pace scoring outburst gave them a 20-9 advantage heading into the second quarter.
After the Blue Devils got over the shock, they responded by cutting Pace's lead to 25-18 heading into half-time.
Both teams came out in the second half smoking. With Pace outscoring the Devils 17-14, to take a ten-point lead heading into the final period.
Much to the Devils dismay the fourth quarter was all Pace. Pace outscored the Devils 15-11 to cut off any hopes of a miracle comeback, and win the game 57-43.
Jeremy McCants lead the Blue Devils in points on the night with 13. Damien Robinson and Barrett Finney also had 11 and nine points on the night.
Steve Moore and Finney lead the Devils in rebounds with five and six rebounds respectively.
Jamie Duncan and Scott Ross lead Pace in scoring on the night with 20 points each.
The schedule for Saturday's games are as follows; J.U. Blacksher and Robertsdale at 4:00, Crestview and W.S. Neal at 5:30, E.C.H.S. and Northview at 7:00, and in the Championship game T.R. Miller and Pace at 8:30.

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