Jammin’ On The Hill basketball tournament:
Published: Jul 10, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Jul 10, 2012 02:03 PM
Few things make a coach as happy as seeing a team improve. If players can make gains and win at the same time, that’s all the better.
John Alcox was a happy Carrboro High School coach Sunday evening.
Carrboro’s entry in the annual Jammin’ on the Hill basketball tournament lost its first two games in pool play and then never slipped again. Seeded No. 3 in their pool after winning three games Saturday, the 2A Jaguars went on to defeat 4A Person, 4A East Chapel Hill and then 4A Durham Hillside in the tournament championship final, 53-46, on Sunday.
The Jammin invitational featured 12 teams from the North Carolina Triangle and Triad, with coaches from 11 colleges in attendance to scout talent. Each team had five games over two days of pool play, then was seeded into a single-elimination tournament.
Carrboro won its first Jammin championship in the tournament’s seven-year history.
“I have been thinking about how far we’ve come since the first year the school opened,” the often laconic Alcox said, smiling. “Each year we have come here and we could always see the progress; we could see the guys improving as individual players and collectively as a team.
“We’ve made progress each year. We only won one game when we first got here, and the following year we won a few more. Last year we made it to Sunday for the first time. For us to come here this year and win it all is fantastic.”
Hillside had beaten Carrboro by 65-57 in the opening round of the tournament on Friday, and then the Jaguars lost by a narrower score, 51-46, against East Chapel Hill.
Beating both on Sunday just made Carrboro’s championship all the sweeter.
“For us to get a second chance at Hillside and to right the ship and come out with the win is just fantastic,” Alcox said.
Chapel Hill went 5-0 in pool play, defeating Hillside, Carolina Friends, Northern Durham, Ragsdale and Roxboro Person, but then was upset by Riverside, 53-45, in the first round of Sunday’s playoffs.
East Chapel Hill went 5-0 in pool play and defeated Jamestown Ragsdale 50-47 in tournament play before losing 59-48 to Carrboro in the semifinals.
“With Chapel Hill and East both being here, that makes it a big deal,” Carrboro point guard McLean Phipps said. “We know most of the players on both of those teams. That made this more of a challenge.”
East Chapel Hill coach and athletics director Ray Hartsfield thought all the work in hosting the tournament for seven years in its current format was well worth the effort.
“This helps us get better as a team,” Hartsfield said. “We’ve been learning how to play together this summer, finding that discipline we need to play with.”
Hartsfield noted he took the same East players to a team camp at N.C. State, where they went 1-5. They’ve gone 13-5 since then.
“That means we have seen steady improvement, and the players have seen it, Hartsfield said.