Sunday, February 5, 2023

Braves Basketball Preps For New Season With Moonlight Madness

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Women’s Basketball gather around the restricted area to throw practice shots. PN Photo/Dai-shon Donald.

By Dai-shon Donald, Reporter

Kicking the night off was the three-point contest. The contest consisted of six players from the Men’s and Women’s roster. Participants from the Men’s roster were Javonte Waverly, K.J. Walker, and Bradlee Haskell. From the Women’s roster were Jada Coleman, Kelci Adams, and Kelly Luck. The players were split into three-teams. The teams contained one Men’s player and one player from the Women’s team. Each round consisted of one-minute and five shots at each spot on the three-point arc. Both players from each team shot on opposite ends of the court simultaneously. The three teams had a chance to win free tuition for their represented student.

Starting the contest was Team-one: Bradlee Haskell and Kelly Luck, representing Tyquan Hill, student. The competition got off to a fierce start as both Haskell and Luck opened with a hot hand. Combining for 19 points, Team-one made it difficult to follow their performance. 

Team-two was up next. Consisting of Javonte Waverly and Kelci Adams, the duo represented student Delsin Burkhart. After an impressive start from Team-one, the bar was set high. It took some time for the Waverly and Adams to find their shot, which ultimately caused them to fall short. Team-two finished with 16.

Lastly, was Team-three: K.J. Walker and Jada Coleman. The final team represented Joyce Justice, student. After the hot-start from Team-one, Coleman and Walker looked to get the better of the team. Ending with a final score of 20, Team-three did just enough to win the competition.


Following the three-point contest, Braves Women’s basketball had the opportunity to showcase their new unit in the Black vs. Gold open scrimmage. Early into the game, the players lit up the court with exceptional three-point shooting. With little defense, the friendly matchup gave each player a chance to show off their dribbling skills and scoring abilities. With the team split into two, the Braves crowd was animated after every made basket. After the 15-minute period, team Gold won in a close battle, 15-13.

Before the next event, the Braves Spirit Squad and Cheer team met together at mid-court for a performance. Their electrifying routine kept the energy high at Lumbee Guaranty Bank arena.


After the performance, the Men’s basketball came to the floor for their Black vs. Gold scrimmage. Opening the game, both teams gave the crowd an early look into the dunk contest. From dunks to alley-oops, the Braves basketball team kept fans on their feet. With the defensive pressure decreasing, there were many highlights on the offensive-side. High scoring from both teams, the game ended with a win from Team Black, 54-45.

With a new-look team, the scrimmage was an exciting introduction. As Braves Men’s team prepares for the new campaign, Coach Drew Richards is confident in the new unit.

“I do like the group. We got some returns that played smaller roles last year that have worked really hard to earn the ability to play bigger roles this year. Then we got some new guys that are starting to produce and contribute consistently in practice,”

Coach Richards said.


Closing the night was the fan-favorite dunk contest. Four players from the Men’s basketball team competed to display their high-flying talent. Lureon Walker, JaJuan Carr, Amare Miller, and Nygell Verdier faced-off in a two-round competition. Each participant had 30-seconds to impress the judges.

In the first round, Lureon Walker found himself at an early disadvantage. After failing to complete a dunk within the given time, he ended the round with only 12 points. Next up was Amare Miller. A powerful sidearm windmill earned Miller a score of 33 points to start the round.

Up next was JaJuan Carr. After Miller’s 33-performance, the pressure was on for Carr. He wowed the crowd early with his first dunk-attempt. Between the legs/off the backboard was enough to give Carr the lead with 38-points.

After back-to-back 30-point showings, Nygell Verdier had a difficult task ahead. Assistance from his teammate, Cortez Marion-Holmes, Verdier hoped to win the first round with a dunk from the side of the basket. Failing to complete the dunk, time quickly ran out, finishing the round with six points.

After the first round, the top-two performers moved on. Miller and Carr battled to determine the 2022 slam-dunk champion.

Miller went first in the final round. Although he gave much creativity, Miller was unable to complete a dunk. Miller finished the final round with seven.

Needing only a score of seven, the opportunity was open for Carr to win the competition.  Looking to receive energy from the Braves crowd, Carr finished in a buzzer-beater effort with a two-hand slam. The dunk was enough to put him over Miller, ending with nine. Carr was crowned dunk champion.

With Moonlight Madness ending, the Men’s and Women’s team prepares for their 2022-2023 season. Men’s basketball opens their season at home against Newberry College on Nov. 12. While Women’s basketball travels for a matchup versus High Point on Nov. 1.

UNCP Student News
UNCP Student News
UNCP student newspaper since 1947.
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