Afternoon News Report; Feb. 29, 2012

DAVY JONES DIES

Davy Jones, lead singer of the iconic ’60s group The Monkees, died today at the age of 66.

My take: And another icon of my childhood has passed.

Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Monkees growing up — not that I’m a super-fan now — but I dated a woman in the 1990s who was a huge fan. One of the best trips we ever made was when I got us credentialled for a Monkees show at the Myrtle Beach House of Blues and she got to meet Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz after the show. And they were pretty good fellows, too.

Rest in peace, Daydream Believer.

FREE PRESS TO ACCEPT 20 NCPA AWARDS

When the North Carolina Press Association hands out its editorial excellence awards tomorrow night in Chapel Hill, The Free Press newsroom will receive at least 20 of those awards.

My take: I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of everyone in our newsroom. We work in an industry that is being told all the time that we’re a dying breed. The level of pay we receive for the amount of work we put in is almost embarrassingly disproportionate. We’ve seen our paper and our staff shrink in these tough economic times.

Yet, every day, the staff with whom I work bring their “A” game and bring home these type of awards.

Many thanks to Nancy Saunders, David Anderson, Wesley Brown, Jon Dawson, Justin Hill, Jane Moon, Charles Buchanan, Janet S. Carter, Ryan Herman, David Hall and Richard Clark for the work they did this past year. Also, I’m very appreciative of Keith Spence, Michael Moon and Zach Frailey for their contributions to our effort throughout the year.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank our publisher/editor Patrick Holmes — the best boss I’ve ever had. He truly cares about his employees, this town and this product and not just his own ego or the bottom line — traits extremely rare in this field.

KINSTON BOYS ADVANCE TO SIXTH STRAIGHT REGIONAL FINALS

As you can see from my play-by-play below, the Kinston boys’ basketball team defeated Wilson Beddingfield last night, 64-53, to advance to the squad’s sixth consecutive trip to the Eastern Regional finals (2007-09in 3A; 2010-12 in 2A). The Vikings will play Reidsville Saturday at noon in the 2A Eastern Regional final for a berth in the state championship.

My take: One word comes to mind about Tuesday’s game — impressive. When is the last time you’ve seen a high school basketball team only turn the ball over four times in 32 minutes? That’s what Kinston did.

When you also consider Josh Dawson had eight assists to only one turnover and Denzel Keyes scored 20 points in the second half, it’s that much more impressive.

Saturday is going to be tough — Reidsville is very athletic, smart and the Rams have a little chip on their shoulder going back to the 2A Eastern Regional football championship when Denzel Keyes caught a Hail Mary touchdown pass from C.J. Bradshaw on the final play of the game. It should be a heck of a game and one I’ll be tweeting and blogging at again.

The iPod shuffle

Tusk — Fleetwood Mac

Pop Life — Prince

Paint It Black — U2

It’s Now Or Never — Elvis Presley

We Will Rock You — Queen

P.S.: For my Tar Heel friends, you’ll have a special “treat” tomorrow; I lost a bet with our good friend Jon Dawson over last weekend’s UNC-Virginia basketball game … so I have to wear a Carolina shirt to work tomorrow. Yes, there’ll be a photo up here to prove it.

Sigh. If only Sammy Zeglinski could hit a freaking 3-pointer…

2A Eastern Regional semifinal: Kinston 64, Beddingfield 53

Howdy! Was going to stay away from the blog tonight, but my arm was twisted by Dawnn Gulledge and others. I’m still tweeting (@BCHanks), along with Ryan Herman (@KFPSports) and Justin Hill (@mjhill).

Here are the rosters for both teams:

Wilson Beddingfield (19-6)

No.   Name                                Pos.     Ht        Yr.

3       Dante Artis                      PG/SG  5-9       Sr.

4       Corey Taylor                  PG/SG   5-11      Sr.

11     Lamonte Roberson         SF            6-0      Jr.

12     Tony Harper                   C              6-5     Soph.

13     Johnathan Barnes          SF           6-0     Sr.

14     Elijah Hooks                   SG          5-11      Soph.

15     Terrance Peterson       SF/SG    6-0       Jr.

20    A-Jay Williams              SF/SG/PG  6-4  Soph.

21    Deonta Woodard           PF/SF      6-5      Sr.

22    Roderick Blackston       PF/SF     6-0      Jr.

23    Rontrel Peoples             PF           6-0      Sr.

24    Tim Eatmon                  SF            6-1      Jr.

32    Deaaron Ward              C/PF       6-5     Sr.

33    Travis Barnes               C            6-7        Jr.

Beddingfield coached by Jeremy Howard

Kinston (24-4)

No.   Name                                Pos.     Ht        Yr.

1        Nakeil Williams                G           5-8       Sr.

2        Josh Dawson                    G           6-1        Jr.

3       C.J. Bradshaw                   G          5-10      Sr.

5       Andrew Lopez                  G          5-10      Soph.

11     Chris Hall                          G           5-9        Sr.

13     Brandon Ingram             G            6-4        Fr.

15     Shikeem Ham                 G            5-9        Sr.

20     Darnell Dunn                 F             6-4         Fr.

21     Kyle Brown                    F             6-4         Sr.

23      Denzel Keyes                F            6-4          Jr.

31      Qwarii Ham                  G            5-9          Soph.

32     Angelo Keyes                F            6-2           Sr.

33      Jerome Hart                F            6-1           Sr.

45     Jay Taylor                    F            6-4           Sr.

51      Derek Rivers               F            6-5           Sr.

(By the way, Reidsville and Burlington Cummings, the other 2A Eastern Regional teams, are headed to overtime tied at 43-43)

8:38 p.m.: Reidsville 50, Burlington Cummings 47, 0:54.2 1OT

8:41 p.m.: Headed to double overtime — Reidsville 50, Burlington Cummings 50

8:58 p.m.: Final — Reidsville 60, Burlington Cummings 55, 2OT; Rams meet winner of Kinston/Beddingfield Saturday at noon for 2A Eastern Regional championship

9 p.m.: Have to add this — I have Pittsboro Northwood head coach Russ Frazier sitting next to me … and I’ve already learned more about basketball in 45 minutes than I’ve learned in the past five years. AWESOME. Also, 20 minutes until tipoff between Beddingfield and Kinston

9:20 p.m.: Three minutes to gametime; go to my Twitter feed for pregame warmups video

Starters for Beddingfield: Artis, Taylor, Peterson, Ward and Barnes

Starters for Kinston: Dawson, Bradshaw, Lopez, D. Keyes and A. Keyes

LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!

FIRST QUARTER

7:17 — Kinston 2, Beddingfield 0, Denzel Keyes layup on pretty assist from Dawson

6:08 — Kinston 4, Beddingfield 0; Dawson layup

6:02 –Kinston 4, Beddingfield 3; Artis 2 plus 1

5:14 — Kinston 7, Beddingfield 3; Lopez 3-pointer

4:46 — Kinston 7, Beddingfield 5; Taylor layup

4:10 — Kinston 9, Beddingfield 5; A. Keyes hook shot

3:18 — Kinston 12, Beddingfield 5; Dawson 3-pointer

2:41 — Kinston 12, Beddingfield 7; Ward lay-in

1:28 — Kinston 14, Beddingfield 7; Taylor rebound of a miss

1:15 — Kinston 14, Beddingfield 10; Taylor 3-pointer

0:57 — Kinston 16, Beddingfield 10; Lopez on a cutter, pretty pass from Dawson

END FIRST QUARTER: Kinston 16, Beddingfield 10; KHS led by Dawson and Lopez with 5 each; Taylor leads WB with 5

SECOND QUARTER

7:51 — Kinston 16, Beddingfield 13; A-Jay Williams 3-pointer for WB

7:29 — Kinston 18, Beddingfield 13; A. Keyes on assist from Dawson

6:56 — Kinston 19, Beddingfield 13; Josh Dawson hits 1 of 2 FTs

6:40 — Kinston 19, Beddingfield 15; Barnes hookshot

5:13 — Kinston 19, Beddingfield 17; Barnes off Kinston turnover

4:58 — Kinston 21, Beddingfield 17; Lopez short jumper

4:32 — Kinston 23, Beddingfield 17; Dawson layup

3:06 — Kinston 26, Beddingfield 17; Brandon Ingram 3-pointer

2:56 — Kinston 26, Beddingfield 18; Woodard hits 1 of 2 FTs

2:54 — Kinston 26, Beddingfield 20; Woodard hits 2 FTs

2:30 — Kinston 28, Beddingfield 20; Taylor hits nice hookshot

1:42 — Kinston 28, Beddingfield 20; Woodard misses 2 FTs

1:07 — Kinston 28, Beddingfield 22; Taylor layup

0:56 — Kinston 30, Beddingfield 22; CJ Bradshaw basket

HALFTIME: KINSTON 30, BEDDINGFIELD 22

Kinston: Dawson 8, Lopez 7, A. Keyes 4, Taylor 4, Ingram 3, Bradshaw 2, D. Keyes 2. Beddingfield: Taylor 7, Barnes 4, Artis 3, Williams 3, D. Woodard 3, Ward 2

Rebounding leaders: Kinston — D. Keyes 3; Beddingfield — D. Woodard 3

Assist leaders: Kinston — Dawson 5; Beddingfield — Taylor 2

Foul leaders: Kinston — four players with 1; Beddingfield — Williams 2

THIRD QUARTER

7:43 — Kinston 32, Beddingfield 22; A. Keyes basket

7:20 — Kinston 34, Beddingfield 22; D. Keyes hits 2 FTs

7:13 — Kinston 34, Beddingfield 24; Barnes runner

6:38 — Kinston 34, Beddingfield 27; Artis 3-pointer from 28 feet

5:16 — Kinston 34, Beddingfield 29; Artis layup

5:08 — Kinston 36, Beddingfield 29; A. Keyes high-archer

3:33 — Kinston 36, Beddingfield 32; Taylor 3-pointer

3:12 — Kinston 39, Beddingfield 32; D. Keyes 3-pointer

2:59 — Kinston 41, Beddingfield 32; D. Keyes layup

2:36 — Kinston 41, Beddingfield 34; Taylor short jumper off offensive rebound

BEDDINGFIELD TIMEOUT 2:36 3Q

1:29 — Kinston 43, Beddingfield 34; D. Keyes hits 2 FTs, 9 pts this quarter

0:44.0 — Kinston 43, Beddingfield 36; Taylor hits 2, misses FT

END THIRD QUARTER: KINSTON 43, BEDDINGFIELD 36

FOURTH QUARTER

7:06 — Kinston 43, Beddingfield 36; A. Keyes misses 2 FTs

6:30 — Kinston 45, Beddingfield 36; D. Keyes hits basket, misses FT

5:57 — Kinston 47, Beddingfield 36; D. Keyes hits 2 FTs

5:35 — Kinston 47, Beddingfield 38; Artis runner

BEDDINGFIELD TIMEOUT 5:32 4Q

5:14 — Kinston 49, Beddingfield 38; Dawson hits 2 FTs

4:53 — Kinston 50, Beddingfield 38; D. Keyes hits 1 of 2 FTs

4:01 — Kinston 52, Beddingfield 38; Dawson hits 2 FTs

3:47 — Kinston 52, Beddingfield 41; Artis hits 3-pointer from right side

BEDDINGFIELD TIMEOUT 3:47 4Q

3:13 — Kinston 52, Beddingfield 42; Artis hits 1 of 2 FTs

3:01 — Kinston 54, Beddingfield 42; D. Keyes dunk

2:42 — Kinston 54, Beddingfield 44; Barnes follow shot

2:26 — Kinston 54, Beddingfield 44; A. Keyes misses 2 FTs

2:16 — Kinston 54, Beddingfield 46; Artis hits 2 FTs

2:10 — Kinston 54, Beddingfield 48; Williams basket

1:59 — Kinston 56, Beddingfield 48; Dawson hits 2 FTs

1:50 — Kinston 56, Beddingfield 48, Taylor going to FT line; KINSTON TIMEOUT

1:50 — Kinston 56, Beddingfield 50; Taylor hits 2 FTs

1:48 — Kinston 56, Beddingfield 50; Lopez misses 2 FTs

1:43 — Kinston 58, Beddingfield 50; A. Keyes hits 2 FTs

1:28 — Kinston 60, Beddingfield 50; D. Keyes hits transition layup; KINSTON TIMEOUT

1:10 — Kinston 60, Beddingfield 50; Ward misses front end of 1-and-1

0:53.8 — Kinston 62, Beddingfield 50; Dawson hits 2 FTs

0:42.0 –Kinston 62, Beddingfield 53; Taylor for 3; BEDDINGFIELD TIMEOUT

0:35.0 — Kinston 64, Beddingfield 53; Ingram breakaway layup

0:29.8 — BEDDINGFIELD FINAL TIMEOUT

FINAL: KINSTON 64, BEDDINGFIELD 53 — VIKINGS ADVANCE TO REGIONAL FINAL SATURDAY AT NOON AGAINST REIDSVILLE!

Kinston: Denzel Keyes 22, Josh Dawson 16, Angelo Keyes 8, Andrew Lopez 7, Brandon Ingram 5, Jay Taylor 4, C.J. Bradshaw 2. Beddingfield: Corey Taylor 19, Dante Artis 16, Travis Barnes 8, A-Jay Williams 5, Deonta Woodard 3, Deaaron Ward 2.

Rebound leaders: KHS — Denzel Keyes 8, Josh Dawson 6, C.J. Bradshaw 5; WB — Deaaron Ward 5

Assist leaders: KHS — Josh Dawson 8; WB — Corey Taylor 2

Great night for the Vikings! See you guys back here on the blog Friday night for the girls’ semifinal game vs. Bunn

Morning News Report; Feb. 23, 2012

FREE PRESS SOCIAL MEDIA DAY TODAY

The Free Press will be hosting a “social media” social today at the paper from 2-5 p.m.

My take: I wrote about it in my Sunday column — and I hope to see a bunch of you out here today. The whole event is free with excellent foodage, door prizes and Jon Dawson. If you need more info, call me at 252-559-1074.

KINSTON BOYS, GIRLS ADVANCE TO SECTIONAL FINALS

In the second round of the NCHSAA 2A basketball playoffs, the Kinston girls defeated Farmville Central, 42-32, last night, while the Kinston boys survived a scrappy and tough Topsail team, 66-46.

The wins advance the Vikings to the sectional finals; the girls host Elizabeth City Northeastern at 7 p.m., while the boys travel to Croatan. Both games are at 7 p.m., Friday.

My take: We’ve grown accustomed to the Kinston boys making these deep runs — and I anticipate they’ll do well at Croatan tomorrow night, too.

But it’s been pretty cool seeing the Kinston girls — fueled by Tish Dixon, Brittany Drumgoole, Monique Loftin, Hailey Vermillion and Caroline DeBruhl — also playing well. I’ll say this: there might not be a better trio of girls I’ve seen than Dixon, Drumgoole and Loftin in my 10 years here in Kinston. Should be a fun night tomorrow.

FREEDOM CLASSIC STARTS TOMORROW

The second annual Freedom Classic begins tomorrow between the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy; 5,000 fans turned out last year for the three-game series and organizers hope there will be more this year.

My take: I have several sets of tickets to the series — just let me know how many you want and I’ll try to accomodate as many of you as I can. Leave your name in the comments here or email me at bhanks@freedomenc.com.

The iPod shuffle

Winter — Tori Amos

Fixing A Hole — The Beatles

Sledgehammer — Peter Gabriel

All Shook Up — Elvis Presley

Ocean Avenue — Yellowcard

Kinston opens playoffs at home Monday

After much waiting, wailing and gnashing of teeth, the NCHSAA has released the brackets for the state playoffs:

  • The Kinston boys (20-4) received the third seed in the 2A East and will face 14th seeded Roanoke Rapids (14-9) at home on Monday at 7:30 p.m. If the Vikings are victorious, they’ll host the winner of No. 6 Topsail (16-7) and No. 11 Edenton Holmes (13-8)
  • The Kinston girls (21-3) also received the third seed in the 2A East and will 14th-seeded Wilson Beddingfield (6-14) at home on Monday at 6 p.m. If Kinston wins, it’ll host the winner of No. 6 Jacksonville Northside (19-4) and No. 11 North Brunswick (8-14)
  • The Jones Senior boys somehow earned a 15th-seed with a 4-16 record and will travel to No. 2 Creswell (17-4) Monday
  • The Jones Senior girls (18-2) earned a No. 2 seed and host 15th-seeded Manteo Monday at 7 p.m. If the Trojans win, they’ll host the winner of seventh-seeded SW Onslow (11-7) and No. 10 Gates County (15-8) on Wednesday
  • The Ayden-Grifton boys (15-6) are the No. 4 seed in the 1A East; they’ll host 13th-seeded Roanoke South Creek (14-10) at home on Monday at 7 p.m. The winner of that game plays winner of fifth-seeded East Carteret (14-9) and No. 12 Gates County (9-14)
  • The Ayden-Grifton girls (7-13) are the 14th seed in the 1A East; they travel to SE Halifax (18-3), the third seed, on Monday

For the complete boys’ brackets, click here.

For the complete girls’ brackets, click here.

My takes: I’ll admit it bothers me that because Kinston’s boys have four losses — all to teams outside the area (including one nationally-ranked team) other than a hiccup against North Pitt, that counts against them. For Kinston — which is ranked second in the STATE to be a third-seed in a four-pod system (effectively saying the Vikings are the state’s 9th-12th best 2A team in N.C.) is a joke.

I’d suggest the NCHSAA come up with a weight system, but it has enough difficulty simply putting together a freaking bracket. The cream will rise to the top, I guess — Tarboro proved this past week that on any given night, any team can win.

If the seeds play out, Kinston could play at second-seeded Croatan (19-2) Friday night. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if 10th-seeded North Pitt (if they’ve got their, ahem, stuff together) emerges to play at Kinston Friday night. This much is true: If it wins, Kinston is guaranteed home games on Monday and Wednesday.

It’s the same for the Kinston girls as a three-seed in the 2A East. Unbelievable they have to face Beddingfield for a fourth time this season, this time in the first round of the state playoffs. That Northside second-round game — also at Kinston — will be intriguing, but that’s a hell of a trip Friday night to second-seeded Pasquotank if the seeds hold up.

I’m monitoring Twitter as I finish this, and it appears we might have some errors in the 4A boys’ portion of the bracket … which means we might have updated brackets. Sweet.

World, meet Alana Yuvonne Carter!

I’m proud to announce a dear friend of mine — award-winning Free Press photographer Janet Sutton Carter — has given birth to a beautiful and healthy little girl named Alana Yuvonne Carter. Little Alana was 6 pounds, 9 ounces and 19 inches long when she jumped into the world at 11:03 a.m. today.

Here’s her first modeling assignment:

Congratulations to Janet and her lovely husband Carlon. Please join me in congratulating the new mama and daddy!

Morning Sports Report; Feb. 17, 2012

EASTERN PLAINS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT AT VIKING GYM

Kinston’s boys and girls — each a No. 1 seed — play host to the Eastern Plains 2A tournament championship tonight. The girls tip off the night with a game against Farmville Central at 6 p.m.; the boys face surprising Tarboro at 7:30 p.m. in an attempt to win their sixth straight conference tournament title.

My take: While it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine a Kinston/Farmville Central girls matchup, NO ONE would’ve thought Tarboro — the seventh seed in the seven-team EP2A — would’ve upset second-seeded North Pitt and third-seeded Wilson Beddingfield in the first two rounds of the tournament.

And why would they? Tarboro was 1-11 in the league and 4-20 overall entering the tournament. They’re playing for a chance to make it to the 2A state playoffs with nothing to lose — and that’s always a dangerous combination.

And don’t get it twisted — there’s a lot of raw talent on that Tarboro hoops team, which includes several members of the 2A football championship squad.

My predictions for tonight: Kinston’s girls win 53-41; the Kinston boys win a good ‘un, 73-66.

And come on out to the game: I’m giving away two sets of tickets to the Freedom Classic, which takes place next weekend at Grainger Stadium between Air Force and Navy. In fact, the first person who comes up to me at the scorer’s table and says they read this on the blog will get two free tickets to one of the games.

DUKE BREAKS SOME WUFFIE HEARTS

Duke did it again to a Tobacco Road rival last night as the Blue Devils rallied to down N.C. State, 78-73, at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke trailed by 20 points with less than 12 minutes in the game and outscored the Wuffies 37-12 to close the game.

My take: Combined with last week’s unbelievable comeback and upset at the Dean Dome, it’s been a great time to be a Dookie.

THE KID’S LAST GAME WAS AN AWESOME WIN

Thanks to Deadspin for this — Gary Carter’s final hit was a game-winner for the Montreal Expos:

My take: Awesome — just awesome. I’ve watched the video five times and it gives me chill bumps every time. I’m not nearly the baseball fan as some of you are here, but if you can watch that and it doesn’t move you, you have no soul.

And what makes it better is that Harry Carey called it. Freaking awesome.

NBA DUNK CONTEST LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED

Four guys you probably haven’t heard of will participate in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk competition as part of the All-Star weekend activities in Orlando.

My take: No pun intended, but I think it’s finally time for the NBA to admit this concept has finally jumped the shark (see what I did there?). Last year’s event was pretty cool with Blake Griffin participating, but if the best you can do is Iman Shumpert … what the hell are you doing, David Stern?

I’d rather see one-on-one contests between LeBron and Kobe or a hottest cheerleader competition than this. For example — who is hotter, these Charlotte Bobcats cheerleaders:

Or these Miami Heat cheerleaders?

You decide. I report. You click on the photos for a better view.

MARIO WILLIAMS READY FOR FREE AGENCY

Former Richlands High School and N.C. State star Mario Williams is arguably the best free agent on the NFL market this year after leading the Houston Texans to the franchise’s first playoff game and win this season.

My take: And now I begin my prayer — Please, Lord … let Dan Snyder sign Mario to my Redskins. Pretty please. Amen.

The iPod shuffle

In Da Club — 50 Cent

Hello Goodbye — The Beatles

Smokin — Boston

Cool The Engines — Boston

Brass Monkey — Beastie Boys

Afternoon News Report; Feb. 16, 2012

REALIGNMENT IN FINAL STAGES

The NCHSAA has released its final preliminary realignment plan – schools have until March 1 to appeal and on March 15, may make their appeals.

As expected, five of the six public schools in our area (Kinston, North Lenoir, South Lenoir, Greene Central and Ayden-Grifton) will be in one 2A league along with Goldsboro. Our other public school, Jones Senior, will be in a 1A league with East Carteret, Lejeune, Jacksonville Northside, Pamlico and Chocowinity Southside.

To see the proposed 2A league, click here. For the 1A league, click here.

My takes: For starters … Ryan Herman is one lucky SOB. Back in the old days when I covered sports, all our schools were pretty much split up in separate conferences. Now … he gets five of our six schools in one league? Damn.

Seriously, though, I’m happy for him, because this means readers of TFP will get even better coverage. Now, if Parrott Academy, Bethel Academy and Mt. Calvary could all join the same league, we’d be in Nirvana. That AIN’T gonna happen, though.

I’m wondering what the new league is going to be named. I seriously doubt it’ll be the Eastern Plains 2A, because four of the existing seven members (Farmville Central, North Pitt, SW Edgecombe and Wilson Beddingfield) of the EP2A are going to be in the same league in the new realignment.

Greene Central was one of the founding members of the EPC in the 1960s and I know Snow Hill legend Rabbit Fulghum would like his Rams to remain in the league (which it has inhabited since the mid-1980s). Again, it’s unlikely to happen unless Ol’ Rabbit puts some heat on some folks.

There are a lot of six-team leagues in this realignment, but that won’t hurt as much as it might seem. I’d like to think Kinston football will finally get East Duplin — and former Vikings coach Battle Holley — on its schedule, especially since ED is also in a six-team league.

In fact, THIS would be a great non-conference schedule for the Vikings: East Duplin, Jacksonville Northside (which I can’t believe dropped to 1A!), Greenville Rose, Havelock, Jones Senior and Tarboro. Of course, that would mean Kinston’s schedule would be one of the toughest in the state, but it would certainly get them ready for the 2A playoffs!

You know South Lenoir is going to keep East Duplin on its non-conference football schedule (or, I hope so anyway). Spring Creek has also been a mainstay on the SL sked, but I’d love to see Jones Senior back on the Devils’ slate, along with Richlands (Kevin Wilson connection) and one of the existing EP2A members (like North Pitt, Beddingfield or SW Edgecombe).

North Lenoir will probably keep Eastern Wayne, C.B. Aycock and Southern Wayne on its’ non-league football schedule — teams the Hawks have played for decades. Whatever else happens, though — there’s no freaking reason for the Hawks to be playing Davidson Day School or West Montgomery in the new realignment.

Maybe the powers-that-be at Jones Senior will get the three Lenoir County schools — along with Greene Central and Jones Senior — in its non-conference rotation, making Herman’s life THAT much easier!

I can’t remember the last time — if ever — I’ve been this pumped for a realignment. It’s going to be fun here from 2013-17!

‘COLBERT REPORT’ TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED

“The Colbert Report,” Comedy Central’s satirical look at politics, announced it will not tape an episode today. The show aired a re-run last night, too.

My take: Speculation is there is a family emergency; earlier today, there was speculation that Comedy Central might be pulling it, although that wouldn’t make sense since the Report is one of the channel’s top-viewed programs.

And yes, I’m a fan. Colbert is notoriously anti-GOP, but he’s also very intelligent and, well, funny. Here’s hoping he’s back soon.

GARY CARTER DIES OF BRAIN CANCER

One of baseball’s all-timers, Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, has succumbed to brain cancer.

My take: Along with Pete Rose, “The Kid” was my first baseball hero. I was one of the few Montreal Expo fans in high school — mainly because of Carter.

RIP to one of the best.

The iPod shuffle

Losing My Way — Justin Timberlake

Play That Funky Music — White Cherry

Communication Breakdown — Led Zeppelin

In A Little While — U2

Before You Accuse Me (Take A Look At Yourself) — Eric Clapton

Afternoon Sports Report; Feb. 15, 2012

LINSANITY GRIPS NEW YORK, THE NATION

Jeremy Lin has had an historic few weeks for the New York Knicks – and “Linsanity” has surpassed Tim Tebowism in its national fervor.

My take: The NBA has to be absolutely LOVING this, especially coming off the strike. This reminds me of the MLB strike in 1994, when Cal Ripken Jr. brought many fans back to the game with his consecutive games streak. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s steroid-fueled home run derby helped MLB, too.

But this is a fascinating story in which you have to pull for this kid. I’m not exactly going to run out and buy his jersey (although A LOT of people are), but I’m looking forward to seeing him play this weekend on national TV.

FOUR FOOTBALL PLAYERS AMONG 17 TCU STUDENTS ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES

Seventeen TCU students — including four football players — were arrested today for selling drugs.

My take: Frankly, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often on college campuses; drugs are plentiful and kids want ‘em, creating the supply and demand I learned in 10th grade at North Wilkes High School.

The players’ names haven’t been released yet, but more arrests are coming. Interested to see who they’ll be.

EP2A SEMIFINALS TONIGHT AT KHS

One side of the semifinals of the Eastern Plains 2A basketball tournament are tonight at Kinston High School; the top-seeded Vikings girls face Wilson Beddingfield while the top-seeded boys take on Farmville Central.

As you prepare yourself for those games, check out this awesome story by Ryan Herman on Nakeil Williams and Andrew Lopez – whose fathers are serving or have served our country.

My take: Should be a pretty good atmosphere at Viking Gym tonight — and kudos to Nakeil and Andrew’s fathers for raising such great young men.

The iPod shuffle

Down And Out — Tantric

We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel

Pop Goes The Weasel — 3rd Bass

Hooked On A Feeling — B.J. Thomas

Synchronicity 2 — The Police

P.S.: Check out this excellent column by Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy on the DOJ decision. All I can say is: Amen. Outstanding observations.

This week’s NCPreps.com poll and how I voted

Here is a link to this week’s statewide NCPreps.com basketball polls; I’ll spoil it for you and let you know Kinston’s boys are still No. 2 and Kinston’s girls are still No. 8 in the 2A poll.

Also, East Duplin’s girls are at No. 9 in the 2A poll, while Jones Senior — who I voted No. 1 — is at No. 8 in the 1A girls’ poll.

How I voted this week:

Boys

4A

1. Charlotte Olympic

2. Garner

3. Wilmington New Hanover

4. Fayetteville Pine Forest

5. South Mecklenburg

6. Apex

7. West Charlotte

8. Raleigh Millbrook

9. North Mecklenburg

10. Hoke County

 

3A

1. Chapel Hill

2. Morganton Freedom

3. Rocky Mount

4. Erwin Triton

5. West Craven

6. Charlotte Harding

7. Concord

8. North Forsyth

9. Hickory

10. Winterville South Central

 

2A

1. Waxhaw Cuthbertson

2. Kinston

3. Bunn

4. Ashe County

5. Trinity

6. Lincolnton

7. East Rutherford

8. Shelby

9. Reidsville

10. Wilkes Central

 

1A

1. Winston-Salem Prep

2. Hendersonville

3. Hayesville

4. Northampton-West

5. South Davidson

6. Rocky Mount Prep

7. North Rowan

8. Lejeune

9. Warsaw Kenan

10. Ayden-Grifton

 

Girls

4A

1. Charlotte Myers Park

2. Hope Mills South View

3. Cary Green Hope

4. Raleigh Millbrook

5. McDowell

6. Raleigh Broughton

7. Winston-Salem Mount Tabor

8. Southeast Raleigh

9. Durham Hillside

10. Greensboro Dudley

 

3A

1. West Craven

2. Hickory

3. R-S Central

4. Rocky Mount

5. Gastonia Forestview

6. China Grove Carson

7. Winterville South Central

8. Charlotte Berry Academy

9. Burlington Williams

10. Northern Nash

 

2A

1. Wilkes Central

2. Salisbury

3. Jordan-Matthews

4. Kinston

5. North Stanly

6. North Surry

7. Catawba Bandys

8. East Duplin

9. Newton-Conover

10. North Lincoln

 

1A

1. Jones Senior

2. Chocowinity Southside

3. Goldsboro

4. Riverside-Martin

5. Robbinsville

6. Salemburg Lakewood

7. Mount Airy

8. South Davidson

9. Kernersville Bishop McGuinness

10. Warsaw James Kenan 



Morning News Report; Feb. 14, 2012

DALTON VISITS KINSTON

The leading Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, dropped in to Kinston yesterday for a campaign stop.

My take: One problem — he didn’t tell anyone (including The Free Press and the local TV stations) he was coming. Only because Dalton innocuously tweeted about it on his Twitter feed (and Justin “The Kid” Hill saw it) did we find out and have a reporter there to let the good folks of Kinston know about his visit.

Dalton’s campaign strategies to this point have been mind-baffling. First, he announces he’s running on the same day Bev Perdue makes her shocking decision not to run, burying his news deep in every North Carolina paper and news feed that day. Then, he visits Kinston for a “campaign stop” without telling media.

The concerning thing about the latter is that maybe he didn’t want anyone in Kinston or our area to know — other than big money folks who’ll bankroll his campaign … you know the REALLY important people.

If that’s the reason, that’s not cool; you’re coming to town to just talk to the people who are going to pay the bills? If failing to tell media was just an oversight, it’s a stupid move on his campaign’s part. So … which is it?

He may be the frontrunner for the Democratic bid, but if he continues doing things like this, he won’t be for long. He might be the best candidate for the job — who really knows at this point? — but he and his campaign aren’t doing him any favors right now.

SANDUSKY INAPPROPRIATELY TOUCHED GRANDSON, EX-DAUGHTER-IN-LAW ALLEGES

Accused child rapist Jerry Sandusky is being accused by his former daughter-in-law of inappropriately touching one of his grandsons.

My take: There’s a WHOLE lot of smoke here; hard to believe there isn’t some truth to all these allegations.

ECU TO BE PART OF HUGE-ASS CONFERENCE

East Carolina will be part of a Conference USA/Mountain West league that will include anywhere from 18-24 members.

My take: Well … this was the worst-case scenario for ECU since the Pirates never received that elusive Big East bid. Still, there really should be a BCS bid built in here or what’s the point?

KATE UPTON NAMED 2012 SI COVERGIRL

Kate Upton, a 19-year-old from Florida, is this year’s Sports Illustrated cover girl. Here she is on the cover:

Click on this for a much, much better view.

My take: Uh, wow. Happy Valentine’s Day, guys.

For poops and giggles, take a gander at a few more shots at Ms. Upton:

Again, click on these for better views.

The iPod shuffle

Wait For Me — Daryl Hall & John Oates

Easy Lover — Phil Collins

Heaven Is A Place On Earth — Belinda Carlisle

Teach Me How To Dougie — Cali Swag District

Be Near Me — ABC