Gryphons ready for Anse MacDon­ald tour­ney

Northum­ber­land also tak­ing part in two-day, six-team event

The News (New Glasgow) - - SPORTS - BY KEVIN ADSHADE

The North Nova Gryphons and Northum­ber­land Nighthawks will open the 2018 Anse MacDon­ald In­vi­ta­tional high school boys bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment on Fri­day.

The Nighthawks, com­ing off a sec­ond-place fin­ish at a tour­na­ment in Monc­ton, de­feated the Gryphons in NNEC’s home opener, and those two squads will be­gin the week­end tour­na­ment with a 2 p.m. game at the NNEC gym.

The Gryphons have only one Grade 12 player on their ros­ter – Lay­ton Wil­liams.

“Lay­ton has been our leader,” says as­sis­tant coach Aaron Smith.

“We have a num­ber of Grade 11s who’ve been with us now since Grade 9, and guys in Grade 10 and two Grade nines.”

Wil­liams said he en­joys be­ing cap­tain of the team.

“There’s a lot of en­ergy and they like work­ing to­gether,” he said of work­ing with the younger play­ers.

“I’m pretty vo­cal and I like to get them in the mood to play hard. They’ll all lis­ten and I know I play hard and show them that if I play hard, they should play hard as well.”

The long-time tour­na­ment is named in hon­our of Anse MacDon­ald, a New Glas­gow res­i­dent who for decades has been a tire­less builder of bas­ket­ball in Pic­tou County.

“When I played high school bas­ket­ball and even when (NNEC head coach Rob­bie MacGr­geor) played high school, we would have played in tour­na­ments that Anse put to­gether. Anse had a lot of im­pact over the years. The tour­na­ment means a lot to me per­son­ally.”

The Gryphons are hop­ing to get strong crowd sup­port from lo­cal bas­ket­ball fans.

“Peo­ple should come out and en­joy them­selves and watch some good high school bas­ket­ball,” Smith said.

Wil­liams has played in the Anse MacDon­ald In­vi­ta­tional

since his Grade 9 year.

“This is the fourth year I’ve been a part of this,” he said. “It’s al­ways su­per-good, al­ways well or­ga­nized. Just hav­ing a home tour­na­ment re­ally brings a lot of at­ten­tion to the school. It re­ally amps you up when there’s a crowd there – it re­ally gets your blood go­ing. It’s al­ways nice to look up and see a bunch of peo­ple in the stands.”

KEVIN ADSHADE/THE NEWS

The NNEC Gryphons prac­tice on Mon­day as they pre­pare for the Anse MacDon­ald In­vi­ta­tional bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment.

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