South Stokes High School hosted the ACC Barnstorming Tour Wednesday evening in what can best be described as good ol’ fashioned entertainment.
ACC basketball players went head-to-head with Stokes County’s finest from each of the three local high schools.
Sauras athletic director Mitch Adams said there was close to 1,200 people in attendance.
“I thought the event went very well. The Sumner Group, who runs the tour, does an outstanding job and made our job easier,” he said. “We heard nothing but positives. The Barnstorming crew even made the comment that we had a great venue, a great atmosphere and they would love to come back to South Stokes.”
Even one of the officials, who travels with the tour, said it was one of the best atmospheres they’ve had, Adams said.
“I think just the fact of seeing the big name players so up close and personal is what most people enjoyed. The ACC players were phenomenal in giving autographs, taking pictures or just talking.”
The event gave Stokes County players the opportunity to play against some of the best talent N.C. has to offer.
“It let them see what type of skills it takes to be at the Division 1 level,” Adams said. “And to be able to play against some future NBA players was awesome. I think it’s something they’ll never forget.”
All three high school’s basketball players came together to make one team.
“It allowed them to be united. They got along well and played well together. I thought coach Clark did a great job communicating how we wanted them to play and mixing up the rotations to allow them all to play equally. It was great seeing purple, maroon and green on the court at one time.”
Before the game started Jared Pike, from radio station 107.5, announced a Duke/Carolina showdown for a fourth time this season. A dance-off between UNC’s Nate Britt and Duke’s Amile Jefferson, took center stage and the duo kept it going as they pulled young fans from the stands to join in.
“To see the different places in North Carolina where we have such big fan support is fun and we get to see the reaction on a lot people’s faces,” Britt said. “It’s good that we get to play for them in person because a lot of people in some of these areas don’t get to watch us play at Carolina.”
Moments later, the game started with a bang as Britt threw the ball against the backboard and fellow UNC star, Isaiah Hicks, flushed it with a massive dunk. The competitive play of the starting Stokes seniors put them ahead 14-8 at the 4:23 mark of the first quarter.
After substitutions were made, West Stokes Devan Hairston delivered a put back dunk.
“You don’t realize how big they are until you’re right by them,” said Hairston. “Playing against them was a great moment.”
The lopsided, but entertaining game, gave children opportunities to shoot free throws for players as music played in the background by local DJ, Jared Moxley.
Of the ACC players in attendance, seven had been crowned NCAA National Champions including Britt, Hicks and Stilman White from UNC’s 2017 banner team. Duke’s Matt Jones and Jason Tatum were there along with former Duke standout Nolan Smith. Also playing was Kanler Coker of UNC, Trent VanHorn of WFU and Chris Brickhouse of NCSU.
The MVP of the game, voted by the Barnstorming Tour players, was West Stokes Josh Turner. The senior finished the game with 12 points including a dunk and two three-pointers.
“It was fun being out there with them,” Turner said.
Other seniors from Stokes County participating were Tre Haliburton, Treshawn Scales, Jonah Moorefield, Caleb Brewster, Michal Phillps, Jonathon Davis and Andrew Tilley from South Stokes. Dawson Manuel was the lone Viking playing along with Turner, Hairston, Jonathan Harris, Jacob Harris, Reid Fulk and Noah Kiser of West Stokes.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.