2018 HAECO Holiday Invitational surprises Greensboro with upsets


The Viking Boys’ Basketball team stand proud with their trophy. They beat Greensboro Day School 68-67. Photo contributed by the HAECO Invitational twitter page.

Harkey (left) and Reiber (right) tip off before their championship games.
Photos contributed by Martlett photography and the HAECO Invitational twitter page.

The Annual HAECO Invitational has been easily predicted for years for both boys and girls. For eight years straight, the Greensboro Day  School Varsity Boys have received the trophy; and the Northwest Varsity Girls have tied the record of four championships in a row. This year, in two nail-bitter games, two new champions were crowned; The Northwest Varsity Boys and the Ragsdale Varsity Girls.

The Northwest Varsity Boys are a force to be reckoned with. The young team continues to push hard and has a lot of supporters. They have a 9-2 record to start off the season.

“We had a lot of people pulling for us which drew a lot of energy to us as a team,” Hampton said.

Walking onto the court with GDS on the other end is an even match up. The teams were neck and neck the whole game with the largest lead by the Vikings of seven points and the score being tied ten times.

“We had to hustle more than them and do everything better than them,” Hampton said.

Some of the objectives the team had this game were to keep GDS off the glass, get stops, get rebounds and get all the loose balls.

Hampton showed out this game with 24 points and seven total rebounds. With about one third of the team’s total points, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

“I felt good about the way I played, but I was more happy about the way my teammates played,” Hampton said.

More high scorers were Junior Dean Reiber who scored 17 points and had six total rebounds and Junior Brandon Thomas who had 21 points and four total rebounds. Reiber, Thomas and Hampton made the all tournament team.

Thomas scored critical points and the turning point basket with 5.6 seconds to go in over time; securing the Viking win.

“Thomas really did his part and carried us at times,” Hampton said “he also proved to a lot of people that he could ball and the team and coaches would say the same.”

The final score was 68-67 which was accomplished with 15 points off of turnovers, 34 points in the paint and a high foul shot percentage of 83.3%.

The team stormed the court with their coaches after their amazing win and the crowd rose to their feet.

“I was so proud of my teammates and I thought that was my best game,” Hampton said “and I’m also happy that we made history.”

Taken by Megan Harkey

The Viking girls had a lot of hype built up against them by the Ragsdale Tigers and others, but they did not let down the entirety of the game. Senior Cayla King suffered a high ankle sprain in the first HAECO game against Smith and she will be out for two to three weeks. With this point guard injury, Juniors Reagan Kargo and Thalia Carter and sophomore Aniston Greene stepped up.

“I knew it was going to be way harder for (Kargo) and I to handle the ball, especially with Ragsdale’s pressure,” Carter said.

Those that doubted the Vikings due to King’s injury were quickly put down by the close game and the ten point lead by the Vikings before the second half. Kargo and Carter quickly improved their ball handling for the opponent’s full court defense.

“I was just ready to play and try to prove everybody wrong and make them eat their words,” Carter said.

Carter said she was optimistic for the game but knew that Ragsdale’s pressure defense could turn the tides at any second.

Carter had eight points and two rebounds and Kargo had 14 points and five rebounds. Another player that came to play was junior Megan Harkey, she got 13 points and 14 rebounds.

“I think (Harkey) really stepped up this game, her offensive rebounds and put backs were a big part,” Carter said.

Harkey got second chance opportunities for the team with her rebounds.  The team had a total of 17 second chance points.

Although the girls played hard, their 21 turnovers that gave the Tigers 24 points and their worn out players gave up the lead in the fourth quarter.

“(In the fourth quarter) I was tired,” Carter said “I couldn’t get any breaks so I knew I had to push through as hard as I could.”

The Tigers outscored the Vikings 18-12 in the final eight minutes which ended the four year championship streak of the Northwest girls.

Head coach Darlene Joyner and the team sees this game as a learning opportunity since they will be playing Ragsdale three more times in the season.

“I definintely could have done better, especially with the amount of turnovers Kargo and I had together, but I’m pretty proud of how I played,” Carter said. “it’s in the past now.”

Carter is still optimistic, she and those that saw the game know that Northwest can stay in the game with Ragsdale.

“Since we lost, the whole team is going to want to get the next game and blow them out of the water,” Carter said.


All pictures are taken by Martlett Photography unless otherwise noted.