If first-year Riverside high school football coach Chris Howell has his way, improvement will be the mantra for his Pirates as they embark on the 2014 campaign.
Former Hillside and Riverside high school point guard Justice Kithcart, who announced just over a week ago that he would transfer to Winston-Salem Quality Education Academy, has changed his mind and announced Wednesday that he will play at Lynchburg, Va., Virginia Episcopal this season.
RIVERSIDE'S TJ WARREN IS LIKELY 1ST ROUND PICK IN THURSDAY'S NBA DRAFT
From the ACC blood running through his veins to pickup games with future NBA players across town when he played at Riverside High School, T.J. Warren seemed destined to make Durham basketball history.
He did so last season at N.C. State by winning ACC player of the year and he’s set to take it a step further at the NBA Draft tonight.
Warren joins 19 other top prospects as invited guests to the NBA Draft at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, where he’s projected to be a first-round pick.
If things go as expected, the 6-8 high-scoring forward will be the first Durham native since Hillside High School’s Rodney Rogers in 1993 to be a first-round pick in the NBA Draft.
“That means a lot,” Warren said. “Growing up in Durham in a tough environment, just to be able to do something positive playing the game I love is big for me and for the city as well.”
Warren followed his father, former N.C. State player Tony Warren, to play for the Wolfpack. He topped his father by being named ACC player of the year after averaging a league-leading 24.9 points per game last season and leading the Wolfpack to a third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth.
His bloodlines were only the beginning of his indoctrination to high-level basketball. When Warren played at Riverside early in his high school career, he would head to Duke for pick-up games with guys like Nolan Smith, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler — all starters on Duke’s 2010 NCAA championship team.
RIVERSIDE'S OWN ALEX BRESE TO FACE MATT ROBERTS FOR HERALD-SUN GOLF CLASSIC TITLE TODAY
Shhh! Make sure your golf partner isn’t around, because here’s some inside information from the No. 15 seed in the Championship Flight of The Herald-Sun Golf Classic on how he rose from near the bottom of that division and kept hanging around to reach today’s title round:
“I’ve just been playing pretty consistent, hitting greens and just trying to make pars,” Durham’s Alex Brese, the next-to-last seed in the 16-player top flight, said after his 1-up semifinal win over Creedmoor’s Britt Mitchell at Hillandale Golf Course on Saturday.
It took 19 holes for Melvin Barnes and Matt Roberts, both from Hillsborough, to determine who’d battle Brese for the championship trophy.
“Neither one of us played good. It was kind of just a dig-deep kind of game, gut-wrenching,” Roberts said. “Both of us kind of kept the other one in it.”
Barnes knew it, too. After the 18th hole, he drove off in his golf cart lecturing to himself about how he’d just given one away.
Roberts pounced, finally burying a stubborn putt that lingered for a while before making up its mind to take the dive.
“It had the line the whole way, but I didn’t know if it was going to ever get to the hole,” Roberts said. “It just kind of looked like it barely just died in there, so I guess that’s what you want.”
Definitely. It was a birdie. Barnes couldn’t match it.
Matt Roberts to meet Riverside alum Alex Brese in Championship Flight title match Sunday, June 22. Titles to be decided in seven open flights and two senior division flights on Sunday ... Complete Saturday results and Sunday championship tee times.
The PAC-6 4-A announced its spring sports all-conference teams Thursday and, not surprisingly, PAC-6 champions dominated the coach of the year and player of the year honors.
RIVERSIDE'S PERFECT PAC-6 SEASON UNRAVELS IN 5-RUN 7TH
The Heritage Huskies didn’t get on the scoreboard until the seventh and final inning but put up five runs during that exchange to turn a 3-0 Riverside lead in the 4-A playoff opener into a 5-4 season-ending loss for the Pirates.
Heritage, a No. 4 seed, was an underdog to Riverside, the top seed from the PAC-6, which completed a 10-0 regular conference season.
Millbrook beat Northern 7-4 on Tuesday, leaving East Chapel Hill as the lone PAC-6 team in the playoffs.
In a lot of ways, Riverside literally gave it away.
Riverside senior pitcher Kory Behenna didn’t give up a hit until he surrendered a pair in the fifth. He gave up another one in the sixth but still had a shutout going in the seventh.
Behenna had it working, Heritage coach Tony Piercy said.
“He fooled us quite a bit early in the game,” Piercy said.
Behenna gave up two more hits in the seventh before Blake Morgan came on in relief with no outs and runners on first and second and the Huskies erupted for five runs and the win.
East Chapel Hill fought off Northern 5-3 Friday night in a tiebreaker game at Jordan High School, a neutral site. The contest was added to the teams’ schedules when Northern failed to hang on to a 6-2 lead at Riverside on Thursday.
GOODWIN WALK-OFF CAPS 7TH INNING SURGE, PERFECT PAC-6 SEASON
A two-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh by Riverside catcher Micah Goodwin drove in two runs off Northern reliever Ryan Williamson on Thursday, preserving both senior night and a perfect season in the PAC-6 4-A for the Pirates.
“It can’t get much better than that,” Goodwin said.
Williamson had intentionally walked Goodwin in the sixth, but Northern coach Greg Pruitt allowed the submarine-style pitcher to bring it to the Riverside senior when the stakes were extremely high.
Goodwin delivered big-time, along with Jonathan Rhew and Joe Wood, who both scored in the seventh after reaching on singles. Riverside’s Kory Behenna got on with a walk and scored the third run in the seventh.
In the third, Northern designated hitter Mack Fenlon homered to push the Knights out to a 6-2 lead.
The Pirates were on the ropes.
RIVERSIDE SEASON ENDS AS CATAMOUNTS TAKE PLAYOFF OPENER
The oars Riverside used to row into the first round of the 4-A playoffs fell apart in the third quarter against Panther Creek on Wednesday.
The Catamounts from Cary, a wild-card team, exploded for seven third-quarter goals in Linny Wrenn Stadium to separate from the third-seeded Pirates in a 12-3 road win.
“They scored two or three in the last minute of that third quarter, and that really just took the life out of us. It was disappointing,” Riverside coach Glenn Estacio said. “That was definitely the turning point in the game.”
Riverside made it 3-3 in the third when C.J. Carpenter set up Luke Berndt for a goal.
Panther Creek got that back and then some, responding quickly with goals from Ben Richter and Matt Artman.
Riverside has been unbeatable in the 4-A PAC-6 and on Friday against struggling Jordan was nearly unhittable with Pirates southpaw Will Hibbard combining with reliever Blake Morgan on a one-hitter in a 5-0 home win.
Jordan track coach Chris Starkey is hanging up his whistle to pursue opportunities as an assistant principal, which made winning the boys’ PAC-6 title in his final meet all that sweeter.
Just in the nick of time for its seniors, the Jordan boys’ track team finally won a PAC-6 4-A Track & Field Championship. Hillside’s girls overpowered the field and grabbed the girls’ PAC-6 title, senior long jumper Imari McLean leading the way.
PAC-6 Track & Field Championships reduced to one day (Thursday) at Hillside ... NCCU opens MEAC T&F Championships ... Duke, UNC men's and women's players named to NCAA individual and doubles tennis fields ... More ...
Jason Tudryn, who took Carrboro High School into the varsity football ranks and came within an eyelash of winning a state title in his sixth season at the helm, has left the program to join the staff of North Carolina coach Larry Fedora. ... Plus, rain claims much of Tuesday's schedule including some dual-team tennis playoff action, PAC-6 4-A track championships and PAC-6 golf championship.