First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON - Christmas may only be 21 days away, but there's a worthwhile four-day break from the hustle and bustle of shopping just before Santa makes his annual visit.
The 20th annual Robeson County Shootout, a basketball tournament featuring all 12 high school varsity teams and four from outside the county, will tip off Dec. 20 with first-round games at four area high schools. From there, ensuing games will be played at both Lumberton and Purnell Swett high schools.
The tournament will wrap up with the championship games at Pur-nell Swett.
“That's a change we made for this year, having both championship games at one place,” said Ronnie Chavis, Robeson County athletics director.
The Shootout serves as a fund-raiser for all six Robeson County high schools, as well as helps provide money for an annual $500 scholarship for a graduating senior. Over the years, the tournament has raised about $130,000.
Last year, Whiteville took the Shootout by storm and swept both the boys and girls championships, the first school to do that since a girls bracket was added in 1993.
On the boys side, Whiteville beat back several St. Pauls rallies to down the 'Dogs, 60-57, thanks in part to tourney MVP James Hardy's 18-point performance. The Lumberton Pirates beat Fairmont to take third place.
St. Pauls' Keron Pearson, now graduated, was the tourney's leading scorer at 19.3 points per game.
On the girls side, Whiteville's Lady Wolfpack turned back a good Red Springs squad, 55-48, to claim the title.
Red Springs' Danyelle Carter led the tourney with a 23.0 points per game average, followed closely by Fairmont's Gini Grimsley at 21.0 points per game. Both have since graduated.
“We've seen some very competitive games over the years,” Chavis said. “It's