Four of the seven teams that are making their Beach Ball debuts this year were in action Thursday, and three earned victories. One new squad had to lose, as Hough (Cornelius, N.C.) and Madison Memorial (Madison, Wis.) were matched in the third game of the night.
Northland (Columbus, Ohio) earned a 62-56 win in the opener against Spring Valley, Bullis School (Potomac, Md.) earned a 70-56 win in the second game over 2010 Beach Ball champion Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.), and Madison Memorial claimed a 58-52 overtime win over Hough.
Newcomers Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.), Norcross (Ga.) and Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) are in action Friday against Socastee, Father Henry Carr (Canada) and Bishop Loughlin (N.Y.) respectively.
Bullis (Md.) played most of the second half without the benefit of a clock to observe above its offensive backboard in its 70-56 win over Miller Grove.
They have their 6-11 senior Andre Walker, who is committed to Hofstra, to thank.
Walker caused the clock to fall backward following a two-handed dunk early in the second half as part of his 12-point, 13-rebound night.
The digital Daktronics timer was fixed and re-placed atop the east backboard before the start of the following game.
One of the more talented players at the convention center is being relegated to a seat next to his father this week.
Spring Valley junior P.J. Dozier, the son of Vikings coach Perry Dozier, tore his ACL and meniscus in a knee in his final camp of the summer and had surgery on Sept. 3, forcing him to miss most if not all of the season, including the Beach Ball Classic.
He watched his teammates go winless in the Chick-fil-A Classic in Columbia.
“This whole season from Game 1 has been tough,” Dozier said. “It’s tough not being able to go out there and help my team win games, so I try to motivate them as much as I can.”
The 6-6 junior was told by a doctor the tears are likely the result of an earlier injury being aggravated. Dozier said he tore his ACL and MCL when he was 12, and the MCL was repaired but the ACL never was.
“They pretty much told me I’d have to have surgery by my junior or senior year in high school, but over some time you forget about that stuff,” Dozier said. “I was feeling good for the rest of the years but kind of gave it the last tweak and needed surgery on it.”
A return by late February or early March is possible, otherwise he’ll play summer AAU tournaments and return to the Spring Valley team next season. “If it’s possible, I’ll be back out there playing with my team,” he said.
New broadcast talent
Caroline Springs, 21, the niece through marriage of Beach Ball executive director John Rhodes, made her broadcasting debut during Thursday’s opening round.
The Myrtle Beach High graduate, a senior electronic journalism major at South Carolina who is minoring sports management, conducted post-game coach interviews on the court for the game broadcasts on HTC Cable Channel 4 and on the web at BeachBallClassic.com.
The only previous on-air work by the tall, slender brunette was done as class projects at USC.
“The first game was pretty nerve-racking and I messed up a good amount of times,” Springs said. “I’m usually good at talking with people but whenever I’m holding a microphone in my hand I get a little intimidated.
“But all the coaches have been really nice and it’s a really good learning experience here, and exciting to be around everybody I know and get to work with such good people.”
As the tournament rounds progress, Springs will likely be branching out to possible interviews with college coaches and others in attendance.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.